As many of you know, I am the oldest of 5 kids who grew up in Santa Cruz, Ca. I cannot remember a time when either our mom or dad sat us down and said, “these are our family values!” However there were many family values that were modeled for us that have been gradually revealed over time. One of those values was the importance of voting!
My mom would always make a big deal about voting day – whether it was the primary election or the general election. She spent much of her time being a mom and shuttling all of us around to the variety of activities we were involved in. As we got older and could transport ourselves, she became involved in other civic related organizations. For as long as I can remember, my mom was a member of the League of Women Voters (LWV) and she often worked at the polls as an election day volunteer. At the dinner table she might bring up the latest discussion topic or issue from the last LWV meeting. Those dinner table conversations in November would always come around to the importance of voting, some times discussions about people running for office, and often about the different propositions on the ballot – either regarding state or local issues.
As we grew up, one of the first things my mom would ask us when we turned 18 was if we had registered to vote. It didn’t matter which political party we registered for (my mom was a democrat and my dad was a republican), but it was important to register to vote and then vote.
I can remember one rainy October evening when my mom had received a request to register a blind lady whose house was in the Santa Cruz mountains. I can’t remember how many of us kids went along on that ride, but I was one of them. I can remember driving up into the mountains – at least 30 minutes from where we lived – to find this lady’s house around one of the many winding roads off the Highway 17 freeway. In those days, one could only register to vote on paper. After arriving, my mom pulled out the printed forms and began asking the lady her name and the related questions in order that she could be registered to vote. From what I can remember, this lady was well past the age of 60, but lived in a nice cozy home in the Santa Cruz mountains and had never been registered to vote. Those of us who were along for the ride were probably a bit irritated about having to spend our time driving with my mom to accomplish this important civic task. However, the lady got registered to vote. Now, almost every time I drive past that turn off on Highway 17 – it’s the Laurel Road turn off on the freeway (right where the freeway curves) – I think about the time I went with my mom to get this blind lady registered to vote.
My daughter and I spent time last night talking about who and what to vote for and then both completed our ballots for today.
I hope you exercise your democratic right and vote today!