primary day {still + life}


Okay. So that breather was a bit longer than I expected. Turns out that the first week of summer has been pretty hectic, actually. Pity party Monday, gone all day Tuesday, gone all day Wednesday. I haven't been by any of your blogs in AGES. As soon as I get back from my meeting today, I'll rectify that!

Tuesday was pretty special around here, and I want to take a quick minute and tell you about it. It was primary day in Virginia, so very, very few of us headed to the polls. That's sad, isn't it? Most precincts reported turnout at less than 5%. I voted just before noon and I was 254 out of 4,000 people in our district. Sure, it was an off year, but in our area, we knew about this election. Our city was having a primary for an elected office called Commissioner of the Revenue, and one of our Lt. Governor candidates is from here. I'd say turnout in Norfolk was higher than at most points in the Commonwealth.

And yet, as Cal and I worked the polls for our friend Evans (running to unseat a 16 year incumbent for said Commissioner of the Revenue), the pace of voters was steady. Some families (we worked a library), some people around my age, popping in from work, very very few college-age kids. But you know who did show up? Braving the heat and walking from deep in the parking lot when the Handicapped slots were taken?

The elderly.  

My job as a poll worker is pretty innocuous. Perhaps I'm not a good choice for the job, because I'm not very pushy. Usually I just call out a hello or "Thank you so much for coming out to vote." I'm there if anyone has any questions, but by that point I figure folks have pretty much made up their minds. Time and again when I would thank an older person for taking the time to vote, they would reply "Always," or "I don't miss it."

My grandparents were like that. My maternal grandmother was a poll worker and, if I remember correctly, my dad's mom got some kind of certificate for a 100% voting record. She voted in every election. All the primaries, all the city races. No matter how small, she voted. And get this? Callum always comes with us to vote, and again, I was asked by an election official how old he was. Turns out that in Virginia, once you turn 15 you can't come with your parents to vote any longer. Shouldn't that be just when we're instilling the habits in our kids that it's our right, privilege and our responsibility to vote?  

Anyhoo. Cal came with me to vote on Tuesday, and he worked the polls with me in the heat afterwards. We were pulling hard for our friend Evans, running for Commissioner of the Revenue, and really hard for our friend and state senator Ralph Northam, running for Lt. Governor.

After the polls closed at 7, we started watching for results. Nerve wracking. I hit refresh over and over again on several election sites, only to have them crash on me. A tweet from a city beat writer sent me to a link for Norfolk results that had few precincts reporting. Finally, we gave up and headed over to Evans's celebration party at a nearby local restaurant.

The mood was celebratory, and shortly after we arrived his opponent conceded. It was great to be there and part of things as first the good news and then the candidate himself rolled in. Great news for Evans, but we're still all obsessively refreshing our phones to check on Senator Northam's race. Sixty percent of the vote in, up by 4, 70% of the vote in, up by 7. When a Virginia political blogger called the race for Northam, we headed over to that celebration.

Got there just in time to hear the cheer go up! Ralph gave a speech, the DJ started playing "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," (there still is the general election in November, you know) and Callum found a plate of chicken wings. It was great. It felt very West Wing-y and thrilling, and we were so happy to be there, a part of it all.  

We first really met Senator Northam back in 2011 , although Neel's been quasi-colleagues with him for awhile now. During his state senate race, we were part of a TV spot for him, and Callum appeared in print ads too. Evans we've known for almost forever, and to say that he and Cal are buds doesn't begin to touch on how we feel about him and his family.  Let me just say also that it feels really, really good to support these two men and see them go on to do great things for our city and our state. I can't wait to vote for them again in November.