I Voted!
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I like those little stickers that come along with a decision made at the voting booth.  Those little red, white and
blue stickers proudly state “I Voted.”  Voting is a right won during the revolutionary war and  maintained by
soldiers’ sacrifice.  Let’s step up to the polling booth, close the curtain and change history with a simple act the
earns you the “I voted” sticker.

First a little history.  People don’t always understand the Electoral College.  Each state is granted one electoral vote
for each Representative and each Senator.   Large states have more Representatives but all states have two
Senators.   It keeps the playing field level for the little states.  The roots of the electoral college were also a
compromise.  Politicians felt the common man couldn’t  make an informed choice while others objected to a
President appointed by Congress.   Electoral College representatives would receive the total of votes cast by each
American and hopefully then vote accord to the results.  During the 2000 Presidential election people discovered
that a candidate could win the electoral college without taking the popular vote.  I discovered this twenty years ago,
seated in a desk in Mr. Ueland’s class.

This year has been a strange one.  Many groups were created to get out the vote.  In most cases it was a search for
the young voter.  It’s an incredible democracy that allows an eighteen year old who has perhaps read newspapers
for a year to have the same vote as a well-read fifty year old.  I agree that it’s your duty to vote but it must be an
informed vote.  Recently a popular singer created a campaign called “vote or die.”  The title is so dramatic and
baseless that I find it offensive.  Perhaps more fitting would be if a Veteran’s group created a campaign called
“they died so you can vote.”   Each year it’s said that the youth of our nation are really going to “rock the vote” but
most people waiting to vote seemed more likely listeners of country or a polka than rock and roll.
Lisa and I voted at Bray Town Hall west of St. Hilaire, Minnesota.  A huge boiler, chalk boards, wood floors and
my neighbors created a comforting  surrounding to let my voice be heard.  The scene appeared to have been crafted
by Norman Rockwell. We voted then hurried home to watch the returns.  I paced my way through the night until I
fell asleep on the couch waiting or the final tally.

I really try to keep this column politically neutral.  However when I discovered my prayers were answered
Wednesday morning by a phone call from John Kerry to President Bush my eyes filled, my throat thickened and I
almost bent the steering wheel on my old pick-up.  Many may not agree with the election results but all eligible
voters had the chance to educate themselves and then to cast their ballot.  People in the Middle East fight to gain
what we already enjoy.  One day maybe they too can look themselves in the heart and say, “I Voted.”