When I saw that our local polling place is just a few streets up in our neighborhood, I thought it’d be a cool idea to go to the voting booths this year with Allie to indoctrinate her into the democratic process. To cut down on line-waiting time, I decided last minute today to fill out my mail-in ballot and walk it in.

In my head, in my perfect scenario, I’m walking up to the table of poll workers with my patriotically-dressed baby girl. The senior citizen volunteers smile at her and maybe say a few “Aww”s, then Allie would hand over my signed sealed ballot. Maybe the poll worker would even let Allie drop it into the ballot box. Then they’d give me an “I Voted!” sticker, which I’d then stick on Allie’s shirt, and we’d take a picture of her in front of an American flag.

In reality, we walked up to the house where a line had already formed coming out of the garage where the voting was taking place. I stood uncertainly in line, telling Mr. W (who was holding my patriotically dressed baby girl) that I didn’t think I need to stand in line to just drop off my ballot. He said he thought I needed to stay in line to check in. The guy in front of us overheard and told me that they had just made an announcement shortly before we got there that anyone with mail-in ballots can just walk in and hand it to a guy by the ballot box. So I did. Mr. W did not walk Allie in with me, but stood nearby. I handed my ballot over to a guy who did not even so much as crack his lips into a smile or bother to part them to utter a greeting. I asked if I could hand this to him, he took my ballot (I’m not even sure he looked at me), handed it over his shoulder to another guy who examined it to make sure my signature and address were filled out correctly, and I said, “Are we good?”
“We’re good,” he said unceremoniously, dropping the ballot into the slot of the box, and proceeded to ignore me again.
I walked out and said, “I don’t get a sticker for coming in with a ballot?”
“I guess not,” Mr. W said. I wanted to go back in to ask for one, to at least score one part of my dream scenario and stick a sticker on Allie for a photo, but Mr. W told me to just forget about it. We walked a few feet down and tried to snap a picture of Allie by a small flag staked into the ground, but she wouldn’t stay still so all the photos were blurry and you can’t even see the cute little elephant holding a sparkler with its trunk embroidered on her top.
We walked home, fed her dinner, and she went to bed.

And here I want to quote Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse.” Most anticlimactic experience ever.