Four years ago Lori called while I waited in line to vote. She had a story she wanted me to blog about. Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni (grandparents), first time voters, had just cast their ballot for this guy:
The following is a repost from Octogenarian first-time voters.
Mamá Toni (86) and Papá Chepe (88), first-time voters
I got to my polling place at about ten. The line was wrapped around the small Episcopal church. It was incredibly quiet, save for a few conversations between neighbors and friends. I took out my iPod and entertained myself with non-election related podcasts and games.
After 45 minutes in line, I got a call from my sister.
“Hey, I have a blog topic for you. The grandparents just returned from voting. They have their stickers on and I took a picture. It’s on Flickr.”
“Oh, cool! I’ve been waiting like 45 minutes at my polling place.”
“Dad said Mamá Toni punched too many holes on her ballot and had to get a new one.
“Oh, well. I think you’re allowed a new one if you made a mistake.”
“They’re all excited and proud of their stickers. It’s so cute.”
Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni became citizens a few years ago. I think it was around 2002, but I don’t remember exactly. They finally registered to vote a few weeks ago. Papá Chepe bugged my parents to get him registered, he wanted to cast his vote for Obama. I lagged on picking up a voter registration form for them. Eventually, dad registered them online through Rock the Vote. (Ironic, I know.)
This morning, despite both having nagging colds, Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni went out to vote. My dad helped them fill out their sample ballots and drove them to their polling place in Hacienda Heights. They waited half an hour before voting. When they got home, Lori made them pose for a photo. They were proud to show off their stickers. Later, I called Papá Chepe on his cell phone.
“¿Votaron por Obama?” I asked.
“Sí,” Papá Chepe responded. “Lo tenemos que meter.”
Photo by Lori
Today I texted my siblings and dad while in line to vote at 7:30 am.
“Don’t forget to vote! Take the grandparents too!”
Danny replied with a joke. Dad replied with something more serious. He said that Papá Chepe planned to sit this election out. He wasn’t happy about Obama’s track record with undocumented immigrants. He’s not impressed (as am I) with the record number of undocumented immigrants Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have deported since he took office. I was sad, but I couldn’t argue. My grandpa is informed and not spouting lies. (PolitiFact has the number at 1.4 million, less than George W. Bush’s 2 million, but that was over 8 years.)
I offered some other reasons my grandparents should vote — propositions for education funding and others — as well as some other info on Obama’s deferred action for Dream Act youth and the Justice Department’s challenge to SB 1070. Last I heard that bit of info was enough to get him to the polls.