By Shelly Murphy
I adore the arrival of autumn, with its pumpkin spice lattes and onset of the holiday season, but I can’t abide the horrible Halloween holiday. Every year I skip the spectacle and instead enjoy an early start to the Thanksgiving harvest. However, this year I’m pleased to pause for the presidential election.
A self-proclaimed Ebenezer Scrooge of Halloween, you won’t see any haunting headstones littering my lawn, nor will you find any political proclamations in my yard.
I support the electoral process and am thankful for the 19th Amendment, but I avoid most party propaganda. In fact, I just read my official sample ballot and found four men and two women are running for president, and one of the women is Roseanne Barr—it’s not a Halloween hoax.
Roseanne Barr, former sitcom star and current Peace and Freedom Party hopeful, declared her candidacy during an appearance on the Tonight Show announcing her plan to legalize marijuana and “invade Mexico.”
I last threw my hat into the political ring in elementary school in a run for class treasurer. I lost the election and still hold my math teacher responsible for my landslide defeat and aborted political ambition.
Despite my apolitical views, I respect the right to cast a vote in the presidential election. I also really like visiting my polling place and spinning that electronic voting wheel of fortune to earn my “I Voted” sticker.
This year, for the first time, the election is a family affair and all four of us are participating in the political process on November 6.
Our oldest son celebrated his 18th birthday a few months ago and quickly registered to become a member of the electorate. He involved himself in student government in middle school and throughout high school. Now in college, he’s part of associated student government and excited to vote in his first “real” election.
He’s also a fan of sitcoms and cartoons, so I find it fitting that his first trip to the polls falls in an election year including political pundits Roseanne Barr and Big Bird.
Like the U.S. House of Representatives, ours is a house divided by debate, as demonstrated by discussions between my college kid, who champions raising taxes to support programs, and his conservative dad who defends his stance to back tax-saving measures.
While our older son casts his vote to increase spending, our other son will work to increase the wages in his wallet. He’s also involved in student government but too young to vote, so he volunteered for the Student Poll Worker Program.
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Orange County ranks as the nation’s fifth largest voting jurisdiction with more than 1,500,000 registered voters, 10,000 poll workers and 1,300 polling places.
In a quest for volunteers, the California State Legislature amended election law in 1996 to allow high school students hands-on experience with the voting process by serving as poll workers on Election Day.
Students participating in the program must meet certain criteria and, once certified, earn $75 while working on Election Day and $20 for attending a mandatory training session.
After attending his three hour training, my son came home with a 158-page Polling Place Operations Manual and a headache. He’s well-prepared for Election Day and looking forward to the quick cash—I mean earning important community service hours.
The presidential election is about three weeks away and there’s still time to register to pick the next president and puzzling propositions. The last day to register to vote is October 22, and the deadline to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot is October 30, at www.ocvote.com.
My husband votes by mail every year—obviously he doesn’t share my enthusiasm for stickers. Regardless of the issues his political apathy keeps him from the polls, but at least he votes.
On November 6, be sure to vote and express your opinion. The presidential election only occurs once every four years—fortunately, pumpkin spice lattes return every autumn.