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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Side of the Road Are You On?

Grafton Town Hall
I voted at the Town of Grafton Town Hall this morning and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I grew up, and voted for several years, in smallish Waterford, New York. After college, I lived in New York City and voted there for seven years. I also lived, among other places, in the rural Town of Tioga, NY for about eight years where the 2010 census population was 4,871. But I moved to Grafton last December and Grafton, with its 2010 census population of 2,130, is a whole 'nother experience.

I'm an early bird, so I ventured into the Town Hall at approximately 6:35am. One person was in one of the voting booths, and I'm going to estimate eight poll officials were seated at a table. Sixteen eyes looking at me with an almost audible reaction "Who... is this guy??" We don't know him!"

"Good morning!" I greeted the officials. "Good morning. What side of the road are you on?, they asked."

That... I must say, caught me off guard. "What side of the road am I on??"

"Yes, are you on the north or south side of Route 2?"  "Oh... Ohhhh, of course, I'm on the south side of Route 2." "Okay, you sign on this side of the table" one of the officials said. So sign (and be observed) I did. I was then given my cardboard encased ballot and a Sharpie marker and pointed to a bank of black, stand-up voting booths where I proceeded to use the Sharpie to darken the circles of my choices... carefully... following written instructions not to veer outside the circles, for Town of Grafton Supervisor, Councilpersons, Supervisor of Highways and Town Justice... and several other less important state officials like the State Justice of the Supreme Court and State District Attorney. I then exited the booth, turned my ballot over and fed it into a machine that looked like a high tech shredder. The LCD readout confirmed receipt. I thanked the officials and left feeling good about exercising my obligation and privilege to vote in my new, Small Town.

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