For the first several elections of my life, I voted at a local branch of the fire department in Chapel Hill. I went to college in my hometown and so – although I was “away at college” – I voted near my childhood home throughout my freshman through senior years at UNC. There was a free city bus.
My Dad was always there when the polls opened which was either 6 am or 7 am. I can’t remember. But what I know for sure is that Mrs. Merzbacher was sitting there overseeing the election.
As Dad prepared to vote, he always asked Mrs. Merzbacher if I had voted yet. And because I hadn’t (because I wasn’t even out of bed yet) she always said, “Not yet.” And then he would phone me in my dorm room and say, “Mrs. Merzbacher said that you haven’t voted yet. Don’t forget to vote.” (This was before the electorial equivalent of HIPAA.) I hadn’t voted yet because I hadn’t opened my eyes.
Mrs. Merzbacher was a national treasure who passed away five years ago today. And because yesterday was All Saints’ Day – as we remember all those who have died in the past year, especially those who have died of COVID-19 – I want to remember her and all those who have made it possible to vote in this country. Thank you poll workers. Thank you activists who ensure that people can vote safely. Thank you election volunteers.
Please vote tomorrow if you haven’t already done so. These are crucial times and we are privileged to have this opportunity. Don’t pass it up.
Thanks Dad. And thank you Mrs. Merzbacher.