The History Blog » Blog Archive » A brief update, with thanks

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Many thanks to everyone who left such thoughtful and supportive comments on Tuesday’s Programming Note, and to everyone who waited with quiet patience for my return to history blogging.

Even in the midst of the on-going maelstrom, I can say without reservation that I loved working the polls on election day. It was nothing but good vibes from my fellow workers and from the voters. The youngest volunteer was just 16! He did a great job managing the lines.

Quite a few voters brought their children who were so excited to see how the process works. Some got to slide the ballot into the box for their parents and I made sure they got as many “I Voted” stickers, which were particularly cool and varied this year, as they wanted.

After the polls closed, I witnessed and signed the vote count along with two other members of the team, and I removed all the paper ballots from the ballot box for delivery to city hall. I found it genuinely affecting to be literally elbows deep in the physical manifestations of democracy. And here’s a cool discovery I never expected or even entered the antechamber of my mind: thousands of paper ballots smell wonderful. You know how some coffee table books with thick paper and fine ink smell amazing? It was like that but a hundred times stronger.

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