Election Day Memory: “I wanted to vote for you, but I pulled the wrong lever in the voting booth.”

I had not thought of running for any position in student government until one day in the fourth grade our teachers gathered us all together and explained how the student council worked, that today the fourth grade students could nominate members of our class to be on the council, after which there would be a vote.  To my utter surprise, a classmate named Barry nominated me.  I believe I was not elected that day, but the experience opened my eyes to some possibilities.

I ended up running for office during the fifth grade and during the sixth grade.  I teamed with family and friends to make posters, to make stickers that students could wear on their shirts, and to create “speeches” delivered at the school assemblies.  My “speeches” were not really speeches since I did not have much I could promise to do beyond working hard.  Instead my friends and I would create a funny skit that we would present at the assembly, then I’d say a few things at the microphone.

The school used the student council elections to teach us our duties as citizens, and as part of that effort brought in the actual voting machines that adults would use in elections, and we would use those booths to cast our votes.

On our student council election day one year, a student a few years younger than I came up to me and enthusiastically told me how he had wanted to vote for me, but accidentally pulled the wrong lever in the voting booth.

I had no idea what to say, other than “Thanks.”

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