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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Voting at the Topsham Fair Grounds: A Topsham, Maine Journal

Election 2004 is finally over, but the unsettling result for about 48 plus percent of those Americans who voted on November 2nd just leaves us depressed and confused about how the outcome could have possibly happened the way it did? Why did President George W. Bush win this election when Senator John Kerry had all the right issues, he's an eloquent spokesperson, he told the truth and was a formidable candidate in what could have been a complete wipe out for the Democrats (and nearly was!). In so far as I'm not a political pundit, even though I sometimes think I'd like to be, it's really not up to me to revise what's already history. People around the world see our United States of America in big color maps of "red" and "blue" states, indicating a stereotypical picture of what we leaders of Democracy around the world must be like, or not like. We all know, it's not as simple as colored pictures on a national map. Nevertheless, voting for the candidate who lost the election is somewhat mitigated or lightened by the manner in which I voted for the Presidential candidate this year. My husband and I were impressed by the way the Town of Topsham, Maine conducted voting. In spite of what happened in Florida in 2000, Topsham, Maine has "the right voting stuff".

In the past, we've voted in lots of places in the many years while Dick was in the US Navy. Even in Maine, we've voted in schools, libraries, town halls and even vacant buildings. Therefore, it was a refreshing experience and even a joy to participate in this truly democratic process in Topsham, Maine where we voted in a huge barn along with everybody else in town. As I learned just this year, voting in Topsham is all done at the site where the farm exhibits are held annually at the Topsham Maine Fair Grounds. "Yessir!", or "Aaaayaaaa" (two ways of saying "yes" in Maine), everybody in Topsham, Maine votes in one big barn. If long lines form, somebody with good old fashioned Yankee Common Sense simply opens up another line. Voting aides are ready to find your name in highly visible locations with big letters above their desks: "If your last name begins A-D - check in here"; or "If your last name begins E-I - check in here". How imminently civilized. A value added in this rural vote in one place method is the way you get to see who all your neighbors are. Moreover, for those who believe Americans are great at talking the talk about voting but slow to deliver on user friendly voting methodology, then may I suggest you try observing an election day in Topsham, Maine.? Dick and I took about 15 minutes to vote, astounding if you could have seen the lines of hundreds of people who showed up at 8 AM at the Topsham Fair Grounds. Thankfully, efficient and effective voting is alive and well in Topsham, Maine. Although the election of 2004 leaves many of us disullusioned about the nature of our American citizens, people who obviously voted out of raw emotion against terrorism or because they simply didn't like the idea of a Massachusettes liberal and prefered a Texas cowboy instead....what a way to select a world leader.....what can I say? I think I undestand what happened in the election of 2004, but then, I'm not sure. Sometimes I still wake up at night and believe what happened didn't really happen at all. But, then I remember voting in the barn at the Topsham Maine Fair Grounds, and think, "Yes", we did have a Presidential Election and Senator John Kerry lost the election. But, Senator John Kerry didn't loose the election in the US state of Maine, where we voted for him and also elected two Democratic Congressmen as well, plus- our vote joined all the six New England States in affirming a Democratic presidential vote. In my opinion, voting in Topsham, Maine made an otherwise deplorable election outcome somewhat memorable.


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