Politique: Tell Us Your Voting Memories

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Tell Us Your Voting Memories

In September, the Women, Power and Politics exhibition tackles the topic of voting. We will look at women's suffrage movements, where women can and cannot vote, what women voters want, and much more.

We reached out to our community participants and asked them to send us their voting memories: Read the story.

Now we want to hear your memories! For example, your first time voting, voting in a significant election, or a remarkable experience at the polls.

Post your voting memories throughout the month of September and subscribe to the RSS Feed to keep track of new memories as they're posted!

Corrina Marshall
Etats Unis

Shirley Chisholm Was Unbought and Unbossed

Thinking back to 1972 and Shirley Chisholm’s run for President, I’m amazed at how much has changed… and how little.

There was so much happening then in the women’s movement, the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement. Shirely’s campaign was an event that brought it all together for me and so many other people.

I do have a clear sense of learning something great from her example – she and her campaign were exactly as the title of her book and the DVD describe her: “Unbought and Unbossed.”

She was righteous and strong right down to her bones, and gave us hope. She catalyzed so many feelings about racial and gender equity across the whole spectrum. Lots of people, I think, were inspired but also unprepared for her candidacy, and in the end just couldn’t see their way clear to supporting her.

Nikole Hilgeman
Nikole Hilgeman
Etats Unis

Is my voice included?

Every time I walk into the polls I feel a part of something bigger. I am always curious about how people are voting, if they did their homework, if this is their first time at the polls. Even when I fill out an absentee ballot I like to walk around the corner to my polling place and hand it over to the volunteer. After Bush became President I can’t help but wonder…can I trust that my ballot will be counted? Can I trust the county and the state to include my voice?

Utilisateur Supprimé

In 2000 I voted for Nader/LaDuke

I voted for the first time in 2000. I was a sophomore in college, at UC Berkeley, one of the most liberal and green universities in the United States. I voted for Nader and LaDuke because I agreed with their politics. I still do. Sustainability is my top priority.

Even then, I was sick and tired of bipartisanship in my country's politics. Just because we are given a choice between A and B does not really mean that we have a choice.

As citizens of a democracy we need to be given a C and D and, why not, even an E to actually show preference and choose representatives that truly reflect and defend our interests.

I have to admit, I regretted my decision for a month or two after the Republican candidate won. Some said I was naive and idealistic, just like all the other silly, tree-sitting Bezerkeley denizens, and had ruined Democrats' chances of victory.

But I soon got over it and was glad to have voted freely and conscientiously. But really, it's time to stop settling. Two candidates and an under-funded, bound-for-failure independent here and there are simply not enough. I want many choices, I want uninterrupted dialogue, heated but productive conversations, clamorous debate, difference of opinions--MANY opinions.

I want a veritable TOWER OF BABEL over in Washington D.C. and not just two voices seeking to speak for a country of 305,142,578 citizens (US Census Bureau fact as of of Saturday, September 12.)

My cage-rattling ranting aside, come November, I am proudly voting Obama/Biden.

Click on this link to read a really great story on WOMEN AND THE GREEN PARTY in the Women, Power and Politics exhibition.

Christie Hall
Etats Unis

When Bill Clinton was running for president, his charisma was infectious. His was the first presidential election that I was of voting age, but I didn’t vote that year due to a repressive and alcoholic husband. He left me a year later. The next 7 years were the best in my life. I used welfare during the Clinton era. Due to welfare reform, it was tougher to keep welfare benefits; so, I relied on myself and discovered I was capable. I appreciated that push to independence, though I knew it was harder. My Master’s Degree and my good job in academia are a result of that hardship.

Sara D.

Harassment at the Polls

The last time I voted was in the Democratic primary for President. I wore a Hillary button and voted in a largely pro-Obama district. A male poll worker told me that I had to take off my button as it was not allowed. I thought this quite strange and inquired "If I was wearing a shirt which displayed the candidate I was supporting, would I have been asked to take it off?" To which I received no reply. I inquired at my local office of the general registrar about this demand made by a poll worker and found that it was completely illegitimate. I promptly made a formal complaint.

Gretchen Dew
Etats Unis

Let's Vote!

For me voting has always been an experience of community. As far back as I can remember I have memories of going to the neighborhood elementary school or library to vote with my parents, and even into the booths with them. Or sitting around the table when Oregon (where I'm from!) started using mail in ballots and listening to my mom go on about this candidate or this measure, and my parents deciding who and what to vote for, me and my brothers there all the while.

The 2008 elections are the first presidential elections I have been able to vote in and I find a lot of excitement and pride in being able to be part of such a dramatic and suspenseful election.

And this election has been no different. The day I got home from school (University of San Francisco) for the summer four ballots sat on the mantle of the fireplace. That evening my dad, older brother, mom and me all sat down in the living room and made voting a social hour. We pulled out the voter guide and went around sharing knowledge and opinions.

Even though I am in San Francisco for the November election the pattern was the same. I called up my mom last night and with my brother on the other line we all went through the ballot and voted!

I think the importance and ambiance my parents have created around voting in my household has had a positive affect on my attitudes toward voting and eagerness to be part of not only my family community, but my city, state, and country community of voters.

I also appreciate my parents openness to my personal opinions, just because we all vote together does not mean we all pick the same things!

My first Vote, But Not My Last

I have always thought of voting as something that every American who can should do. Not only do I think it is important, but I also think it is a special experience for each individual especially when it’s your first time. My special experience of voting came November 4th, 2008 at 7:25am in the morning. I had been contemplating how I would vote not only for the president, but also on the propositions and other measures for months. All this thinking boiled down to 8 quick minutes in a small both in a run down garage. I remember waiting in line for 30 minutes outside the garage, wondering what the ballot would look like, and how was I supposed to fill it out. All these questions seem silly to a normal voter, but as a first time voter I was very inexperienced and confused. I quickly learned that all i needed to do was fill in the arrow pointing to the candidate I wanted. As i stood in the booth it gave me great pride to fill in the arrow pointing to Obama’s name and along with pride a since of hope. After the elections, I couldn’t have been happier. I felt as if my vote really did count and that my vote along with millions and millions of others had helped in some way to make history. Of all the elections I have been alive to witness, I feel like I am truly privileged to be able to participate in this one. I also felt as if I had proved every person who thought that young adults didn’t actually care enough to get out and vote wrong.

This voting experience was also very special for my father. He became an official citizen of the U.S. a year or so ago and voted for his first time just as I had. I remember how excited he was the night before and I really felt like for the first time we could share our opinions on which candidate we would vote for and agreed. Voting in this election was an awesome experience and I cant wait to see how our new president will run our country and what changes he will make.

Etats Unis

Here we are at last

When I think about my most memorable voting experience, it is not my participation in this year’s historical election or even the first time I voted, it was my experience volunteering at the polls.

During the 2005 Special Election I spent a lot of time volunteering with Planned Parenthood to help in the fight against what was at the time proposition 73 (it was proposition 4 on this year’s ballot). After being so invested in the election, I wanted to feel like I was part of the voting process, but since I was only 16 years old I was not able to vote. So instead of voting, I decided to volunteer as a poll worker.

The morning of the election I woke up at 6:00 am and returned home that night around 10:00 pm. What felt like one of the longest days of my life also turned out to be one of the most influential. I could not help but notice how many people made comments about the electronic machines they fed their ballots into. Remarks like, “Oh is this a shredder?” or “Is this here so the machine can decide how I voted instead of reading my ballot?” were very prominent throughout the day.

The disillusionment with the voting process and democracy in America was truly scary and sad. It proved to me how negatively the 2004 election results affected peoples’ belief in America’s democracy. I myself was pretty thrown off by the remarks; I understood that the 2004 election was fishier than the entire Pacific Ocean, but I did not understand why people were so untrustworthy of the voting machines themselves, until I watched HBO’s Hacking Democracy.

Within a few short hours, I went from a young, hopeful American to an embittered, disgusted American, a road that I feel many people took in the last 8 years. The only lingering sense of optimism I had came from the defeat over proposition 73; my efforts had made a difference and had paid off. So, not quite sure how to feel, I decided that hating the President and middle America was the answer, along with figuring out what country I would move to after college.

Now, as of November 4, 2008, I no longer have to hate my President to answer my unresolved questions, and I no longer have to decide which country to move to (which was proving really difficult). For the first time since I was 9 years old, I am happy to be American. President Barack Obama’s term will only be the second time in my life that I have not had a Bush as my President, and this next couple of months could not go by faster.

Barack Obama has somehow managed to bring hope to the millions of discouraged Americans who turned their back on American politics years ago, and no words good explain how great it makes me feel. I was really concerned that McCain winning this election would not only leave the current voter population even more disillusioned, but that the newer generation of voters, my generation, would be disillusioned early on in our voting experiences.

In light of this week’s events, all I can really say, is it feels good to be back; I forgot how nice it felt to be patriotic. It is great to be reminded that I actually do live in a democracy (which also means that Proposition 8 won’t be around for long).

Chenoa Lazzarini
Etats Unis

First Presidential Election

Being that I did not turn 18 in time for our last presidential election, this year represented my first opportunity to. I am a little sad that I did not have a chance to enjoy the actual polling sites because I am registered absentee, but, obviously, the election was an exciting one none-the-less.

My experience began with a phone call from my mother letting me know that my ballot had arrived at her house and that I should pick it up as soon as possible as my father was jokingly threatening to use my ballot to vote for the koolaid man.

The voting itself was quick and simple--I filled out the ballot after reading up on all the smaller issues and sent it back to the county I am registered in. What was most exciting was my grandmother's reaction to my getting to vote in such a monumental election. She called me in tears saying how proud she was to hear that I was using my vote. It was a beautiful moment for me, not just because I was so surprised, but because I had watched the people around me grow so cynical after the last 2 bouts of elections. I feel like this election was a right of passage for me. My grandmother is a strong woman who served in WWII as a wave in the Navy. It was interesting that she saw this event as more empowering than my own choice to join the armed forces as a woman.

The cherry on top was receiving my own "I voted" sticker from my university, even though I did not get to vote in person.

The words "I voted" were penned in three different languages.

Jason Wang
Etats Unis

Watching people vote

Having grown up in a military dictatorship country, I don't have the slightest idea of how it feels to vote or the right to choose your leader. In my country, voicing your opinion or choice is usually dealt with violence or imprisonment by the government. It is aesthetic to see how this election unfold, as for the African Americans this is a "non-violent revolution". I can certainly empathize with the African Americans where there was a time for them that their voices couldn't be heard and was suppressed through violent means. This freedom of choice is best represented by the landslide victory that Obama received on the election day. Having said that, it also makes me wonder if everybody living under this wonderful constitution could achieve the American Dream where even an African American could be elected president? Having experienced both worlds of dictatorship and democracy, the differences couldn't be more clear; dictatorship where all you need is to be ruthless and becoming a president, where it requires leadership, intelligence, bringing everyone in the country together, plus money! I don't believe that every aspiring politician could afford or have the ability to raise 200, 300 million dollars just to stand a chance in becoming a presidential candidate. As a bystander in this election year, I am still not sure, even after the election, that if this country could promise the "American Dream" to everyone despite their race and gender.

C R Fazio
Etats Unis

a moment in time

There are certain moments in history that we WANT to remember. Where were you when you heard the news that...

November 4, 2008 was one such moment. Not because a Democrat won the necessary votes for the Electoral College to name him President. Not because this election was a repudiation of eight years of arrogance and deceit. Not even because we, collectively, turned to a new leader to address the catastrophic and catatonic state in which our economy lies.

November 4, 2008 was such a moment because Americans stood up and said - resoundingly - we believe in our country's right to choose. We believe in the importance of standing together - be it for minutes or hours - to wait to cast our vote to keep our country intact. When John McCain made his eloquent concession speech, I thought that the word "concession" was so wrong. It should be known as an acknowledgement speech. Senator McCain had the good grace and class to acknowledge that Americans made a different choice and have moved our country into new uncharted waters. He has the experience to understand that, in 2009, 2010, and beyond, he will accomplish more by being a participant rather than an isolationist.

My fears following this historic event are twofold.

First, I hope our minority communities do not expect President Obama to solve all of history's problems all in one day. He has made a strong statement of the importance of working together. That means the door swings both ways. Just as more and more white Americans recognize that there is good to be gained by opening the door to other "types of people", so also our minority communities need to take steps to make these opportunities their own - just as President Obama has shown them how to do.

Second, I sincerely hope that all the media will put away their collective biases, fire their "fact checkers", and let the American people judge for themselves, year by year or day by day, how well the new government governs. There are some for whom the glass is always half empty. There are some who can only find inner happiness in misery.

But for the majority of Americans, this is a moment of joy. We have regained our self-respect. We have shown other leaders in other friendly and hostile parts of the world that we believe in ourselves. That is the moment I will remember most. I thank President Obama and pray for his wisdom and safety. I thank every American who participated in the election process.

We are all better off today than we were two days ago.

Carolyn Fazio
Delray Beach, Florida

Ana Cordova
Ana Cordova
Etats Unis

Well said!


I vote with good attitude and peaceful mind.



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Balises : voting , vote , polls , elections , الصوت , suffrage