I had my first experience both with early voting and with voting in a large metropolitan area yesterday afternoon. Early voting was not an option in Alabama and the concept at first seems just a little odd. But hearing reports from locals that they normally wait in the voting line for several hours on Election Day (for a Presidential election) led me to seriously consider the idea. Since I didn’t know if Miss Munchkin would be home or not by Election Day, I opted to vote early and not take the chance of standing in line for hours with a toddler. In true unschooling fashion, with work and school schedules to consider, we all decided to do early voting and made it a family affair.

You would think that early voting would mean no waiting. After all, we’ve been able to early vote since October 20th. But on Wednesday (the 29th) it was announced that early voting hours and dates were being extended, since so many were turning out. So we were not surprised by the line outside the courthouse; at least, most of us were not surprised. We got in line about 2:35 p.m. and got done voting shortly before 4:00 p.m., so we were in line just a little over an hour.

All my life I have voted in rural areas where a turnout of 500 for a day’s voting was high. I easily remember election days that I voted at 1 in the afternoon and was number 50 for that day. So waiting in line for over an hour was a novel experience for us. It was a beautiful warm sunny Florida fall afternoon, though, so the wait was not unpleasant and certainly went more quickly because we all went together. The actual voting process was quite smooth, more efficient than any voting we did in north Alabama. And David got a shout out from the polling volunteers as a first time ever voter.

Funny, once I voted I almost expected that the campaign advertising on television should cease! Yeah, like that will happen! We did have an interesting conversation (while waiting in line) about the campaigning that was going on outside the courthouse. It was legal as they were outside the perimeter prescribed by law. One of the kids wondered if, in the event they received one of those robo-calls on their cell phone within the perimeter, if they could prosecute!

I have been voting in Presidential elections since 1980 and this is the first one in which there was not a Bush or Clinton on the ticket! Isn’t that weird?