Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Day, Part Two: ELECTION NIGHT!!!

So, this was what all of the work was all about: Electing a new President of the United States, US Congressmen and Senators, Governors and State Legislators, mayors and city councils. We went to a hotel downtown to watch the election returns come in. At 9PM (after all of the polls across the United States had closed), the newsmen on the big screens in the ball room told us that Barack Obama was predicted to have been elected the President of the United States.

I think the happiest person in the whole room was the blonde woman in the picture above. Her name is Suzanne Gelderman and she was the Utah State Director for the Obama for America campaign. The girl with the red hair is a friend of mine from school, Maggie Flanigan. She's only a ninth grader, but she was the volunteer coordinator for the Obama campaign for the entire state of Utah! She was pretty happy, too. And she proves that you really don't have to be old enough to vote to make a difference in an election.

Another very happy person in the room was our congressman, Representative Jim Matheson, who was elected to serve another term in the US House of Representatives in DC. Congressman Matheson's son Will is only a couple of years younger than me, so he and Wes and I hung out while his dad was being interviewed by the tv stations and our parents were talking.

There were so many parties on election night that we could have stayed out all night and still not made it to all of them. But we were really tired, so we decided to go home after we stopped by a couple of parties that were at the same hotel where we were. On our way out the door, we ran into the Salt Lake City Mayor, Ralph Becker. We talked to him for a minute, then called it a night. It was a fun and exhausting day.

Election Day, Part One: The Polls

I am homeschooled every other day, so I was really lucky that Election Day fell on a homeschool day for me. That meant that I got to go to the polls twice: Once with my dad, and once with my mom and Wes.

First, I went with my dad. The ballot started with the President of the United States and went down from there to the local races. I pretty much knew who my dad wanted to vote for, but on a couple of the items, like judges and referendums, I had to ask him to point to the one he wanted.

On one race, my dad wasn't really excited about either candidate. So he told me that I could WRITE-IN a candidate! It was so cool. My dad told me that he didn't care who I wrote in, but that I had to take my vote seriously and write in someone who could actually serve in that role. In other words, I couldn't vote for Mickey Mouse or SpongeBob. I won't tell who I wrote in, but the person would have been a really good choice, in my opinion, even though they weren't officially running for office.

Then, Mom checked Wes out of school at lunch and I went to the polling place again with them. At the polling place (which for us is a funeral home!), we saw former Congresswoman Karen Shephard who served in Congress with our dad (the pic to the left is us with Rep. Shephard). Then it was time for Wesley to help mom vote.

In Utah, where I live, you get a thing that looks like a credit card that you stick in the machine so that the machine knows that you are a valid voter. Then you use a touch screen to vote for the person you think will do the best job in office. So Wesley voted for mom. It took about seven or eight minutes. Not long. Then we got something for Wes to eat and took him back to school.

Since it was only noon and I had already finished all of my school work, I went to the Obama for Utah office and made phone calls to remind people in some of the swing states (I called Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Arizona) to go to the polls and vote. The list in front of me on the desk is one of the three lists I called from on election day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I can not believe that it is FINALLY election day! I'm about to go to our polling place with my dad. My mom is going to check Wesley out of school to vote with her in an hour. Take your parents to the polls and vote for the candidates of your choice. This is the most important thing that kids can do to make a difference in our country--get the adults they know to the polls. So do it! Come on...only a few hours left to vote!