I love this story. – Rosi
I have to admit that I did next to nothing for this year’s general election. I submitted a vote by mail ballot at least a week or two before the election. I have a ton of excuses. I’m busy with my first house, I’m busy with work, I’m busy with family issues, I took the election for granted, etc. Fortunately my lack of participation didn’t hurt much in NJ, other than annoying some of my friends in the campaign world.
Election day arrived and I figured the best thing I could do is at least make sure my family (solid Democrats) got out to vote. My sister voted since she was finally home after years of being away on military business. My brother voted provisional in his town because he forgot to submit his VBM ballot. My mom and grandmother voted. The only person left to vote was my grandfather. The only problem? He was in the hospital.
Follow below the fold for the rest of the story.
The evening before the election he called me from the hospital asking how he could vote. He even wanted me to kidnap him from the hospital and drag him to the voting booth. He went on a tirade against the Tea Party and how he wanted to create the Coffee Party if the Republicans won anything. The man is 84 years old, and all he wanted to do was vote like he does every election.
But the only possible way would be if he filled out a VBM application and I was his messenger. I drove 16 miles to the hospital and got the paperwork handled. I then drove 13 miles to go to work that night and another 17 miles to get home in the morning. After sleeping most of the day away, I woke up and realized I’d have to jump through hoops to get my grandfather to vote.
I drove 15 miles to the Board of Elections office and asked to speak to the judge. One of the Deputy Attorneys General quickly interviewed me and helped me in front of the judge. Fortunately everything worked out and the judge approved me to bring a ballot to my grandfather. The problem now? My grandfather was then at a different hospital in the middle of surgery.
I drove 10 miles to get to that other hospital. I got up to the surgery waiting room and was excited to hear my grandfather made it out of surgery. The problem now was the lady at the desk wouldn’t let my grandfather make any legal decisions because of anesthetics. While that made sense, I asked to speak to the supervising nurse. After explaining my story, she said she’d allow me to see my grandfather as soon as she felt he was coherent enough to make a decision.
As soon as he saw me, he said my name and put a big smile on his face. He knew that I was there to gather his vote. I asked him a few questions to make sure he was coherent and then asked him who he wanted to vote for. Of course he said he wanted to vote for all Democrats. After I helped him fill out the ballot, he signed the envelope and I drove the 10 miles back to the Board of Elections in time for his vote to count. I then drove the 15 miles back to the town’s Democratic HQ and made phone calls before the polls closed.
I spent roughly three hours and drove about 96 miles for one vote. Yes, I could have used that time and effort to gather more votes for Democrats. Yes, I’m sure there are plenty of other people who have been in a similar situation and done similar things. But I made an 84 year old loyal Democrat a happy man. I know I would live my life with a huge amount of regret if I didn’t make that effort and he never got the chance to vote again.