Election 2016: Voter booth field report from a first time voter

By Garret Richey, Contributor

Below is the account of an early voter from our school, senior Garret Richey:

“It was 3:30 on Friday the 4th. I pulled up to the Kimberley library/town hall. The back parking lot remained almost empty, as always. I walked toward the front of the building to find all of the lots full. Right off the bat the one thing I noticed that seemed a little odd was the amount of families there. Like the whole family. Mom, Dad, and the kids. I’m not quite sure why the kids were there. Maybe they wanted to teach their kids about voting.

Garret Richey
Garret Richey

After entering [the building], I saw a small line leading from behind a glass case memorial, leading to two plastic tables where two elderly women were stamping and writing papers. I went to take my place in the line, but was [asked] by a woman frantically writing on papers and holding a clipboard on the first table: ‘Do you have your registration form? This line is for voters who have their forms already.’ I replied that I had yet to have my form written, and she directed me to a room behind the line. It was an open reception area with a tall desk and two windows. One window was occupied by a man who was filling out his forms. I moved to the second window where a woman came up to greet me.

‘Hi, what can do for you?’ she asked.

‘[I’m] looking to register,’ I responded. She nodded and asked to see my ID. [She] handed me the form, which I [proceeded to] fill out. I handed it back to her and she read each question aloud to make sure she filled out her copy [correctly]. When she got to my address she smiled and looked up at me. ‘Oh, you’re my neighbor,’ she said. ‘I live down the road on the cul de sac.’

She gave me my form and sparked some conversation about my mother, and how her business was going, [since] she was a former client of my mother’s. After my registration I proceeded to take my place in the short line of eight people. The traffic was fairly slow, and not many people walked in after me. I assumed because it was late in the evening and early voting was almost closed. As I waited the woman from before at the first table asked if I was a first time voter, to which I replied yes. She grabbed a copy of the ballot and showed me how it worked. On this particular ballot you had to connect an arrow in front of the candidate you wanted.

It was my turn next in the line. An elder woman greeted me and asked for my registration form. I handed it to her and she stamped it and gave me a ballot and an envelope, and told me that I ‘may proceed to the booth.’ The booths were 1 foot by 1 foot hard plastic desks, with 3 equally sized panels covering three sides of the desk. On the inside of the panel facing toward you was a copy of the ballot with arrows and instructions on how to fill it out. I filled out my ballot and sealed it in the envelope. The woman thanked me and congratulated me on voting. I later asked the staff if they would consider being interviewed after the voting was closed, but I was met with silent nods and explanations [as to why they couldn’t be interviewed]. So I returned to my car in the back parking lot, with my first presidential vote under my belt.”