MATTHEWS: With October comes the beauty of autumn, and the thrill of the vote


Next to springtime, autumn is my favorite season, for many reasons.

For starters, the cooler temperatures are a welcome reprieve from hot, sticky summers.

Along with the cooler temps comes the crisp fall air, and the changing of the leaves, with their colorful brilliance visible for miles all around.

Then there is the beginning of the high school and pro-football seasons, which unfortunately look a lot different this year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and all the gathering limits that come with it.

But there is something else about the autumn season to love, especially if you are civic minded and care about what’s happening in your community and your country.

What am I talking about? The thrill of the vote.

For as long as I’ve been able to, I’ve relished going to the polls come election time. A deep sense of patriotism and pride wells up inside of me as I stand in line behind others waiting to make their voices heard.

While waiting, people generally don’t talk with one another about their voting choices out of respect for the process. But to ease any minor tensions with having to stand in long lines with people you probably disagree with, jokes are sometimes made about the weather, about how much people are willing to pay to get someone to step out of the line and go grab coffee and breakfast or lunch for others waiting.

Even the campaign staffers who stand on sidewalks handing out literature for candidates or causes I’m not voting for don’t bring me down. They’re doing their part, too. If they’re passionate enough to stand outside of a voting precinct for hours on end, they win my respect, even though they don’t win my vote.

People died for our right to vote. The least we can do to honor their sacrifices and to pave the road for future generations is to do our part.

I’m generally a fan of voting on the day of the election, although in recent years I’ve sometimes participated in early voting out of concern that I’d be in line for hours on Election Day. In either case, however, precinct workers are typically friendly and eager to help, although there are sometimes hiccups along the way.

I’ve actually met some of my neighbors for the first time when I’ve gone to vote. The poll worker looking up my info will see my street address and smile. “I live in your neighborhood, too,” they’ll say, before asking me how long I’ve lived there.

The brief conversations with them make me wonder if I should volunteer to work alongside them in future elections.

Those thoughts are quickly extinguished; however, when I remember I’d have to be non-partisan and neutral for roughly 12 hours. That is, as you might have guessed from my prior columns, a nearly impossible task.

Unlike in prior elections, this year I decided to vote using the absentee ballot method, partly due to pandemic concerns, but also because it’s something mom and dad wanted to try this year for the first time since it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to stand in line.

The process was fairly straight forward. Request your ballot, receive it in about a week, fill it out and return it to the USPS or an early voting location. You can also track your ballot’s progress.

It hadn’t been five minutes after finishing filling out our ballots when mom looked at me excitedly and asked, “Can we drop these off tomorrow?” My schedule for the next day was tight, but I could see how eager she was to get her ballot turned in.

“Okay,” I answered, grinning at the twinkle in her eye. I could see how important it was to her.

And it was indeed important. After all, people died for our right to vote. The least we can do to honor their sacrifices and to pave the way for future generations is to do our part.

Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.