Monday, November 3, 2008

Early voting moms need help; polls could use some toys

A friend of mine who volunteers by offering rides to those who don't have a way to the polls told me quite a tale today.

We're all hearing about the long lines at Summit County's early voting center (at the Job Center on Tallmadge Avenue in North Hill) and the dedication of folks standing in line for up to two hours.

My friend tells me that she saw several moms in line who had no choice but to bring their young children with them. As you can imagine, standing in line for 30, 60, or 90 minutes is not something a toddler enjoys.

My friend says that some moms eventually gave up because their kids were melting down and they just couldn't stay any longer.

So my friend did something about it .. at least for one mom. She went to the front of the line and explained the situation to other voters, who allowed the mom and her kids to move to the front. My friend that also tried to help occupy the kids long enough for the mom -- once she was inside the Job Center -- to run the gauntlet and cast a ballot.

Still, other moms with kids in tow gave it their best shots .. but still had to give up.

My friend recommends that in the future, what harm would there be in setting up a small toddler, daycare zone with a few toys and some screened volunteers to staff it?

I don't pretend to know the legal issue surrounding setting up a temporary daycare, but with early voting on Tallmadge Avenue expected to top the 50,000 mark, you can bet there were quite a few parents with young kids who braved the lines .. and probably a great many others who stayed away knowing that their kids probably couldn't handle the wait.

I also know that parents have the option to request an absentee ballot by mail, so that's probably the best alternative for all involved.

Still .. what would it hurt to ask for daycare volunteers along with the poll workers?

Thoughts? Other ways to help this?


Anonymous said...

I think if I had still had children that young, I would request an absentee ballot. I would not want a stranger watching my child.

We're all aware of the upcoming elections. Having a sitter in place or casting an absentee ballot isn't asking a lot.

We also need to think about the other people that are voting. Children can be a distraction.

(from a mother of 3)

Jen Martin said...

I have a four year old son and have taken him with me to vote in the past. It was not fun for either of us.

When I got a postcard in the mail from my BOE that said I could sign up for absentee voting, I jumped on it and encouraged my husband to do so also.

We voted over the weekend and I dropped off our ballots at the post office this morning. It was all stress free and such a great process.

I understand that everyone's situation is different, but why not sign up for absentee voting if it is offered?

Tuesday is going to be horribly crowded and overwhelming, so please take that into consideration for those that do bring their childs. Many times people with children are given "the eye" by others, even when their kids are being good. Remember why you are there to vote and try to make the best of the situation.

Eric Mansfield said...

Good points. We probably won't see a turnout like this for at leats another four years, and by then, who knows .. maybe we'll be voting via the Internet.

Still .. if you see a mom with young kids tomorrow .. maybe let me move up in line without the "how come you didn't vote earlier by mail?" evil eye .. and let's just give her a pass this time .. focusing instead on the greatness of our country's democracy that we are free to vote.

R.S. said...

Eric, I have to agree with the others about using the absentee ballot. There is no excuse when they were sent out to everyone. I sent one on to my daughter in China and she received her ballot and sent it back to be counted. So now we know you can vote in this manner.
BUT if there is a mom in front of me with small kids I will let her move ahead to help her out. I too took my girls when they were little to show them the process but didn't have to deal with long lines.
I am soooo happy it's finally here. NO MORE commercials or phone calls although I did get one from Matt Damon and Barack.

Anonymous said...

They have a touch enough time doing the job they are supposed to - allowing voters to vote in a timely manner. I can' imagine them also trying to manage daycare and proper delivery of toys. Then what are you going to do when a toddler is leaving and does not want to give up they toy? What about disinfecting them after they get drooled on? Lots of people have lots of niche needs. Do we have to meet them all? If the kid needs a toy, bring one from home. Any parent without a travel bag full of juice boxes, diapers, and toys is an amature in my book.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about the vote by mail. With a 3 and 5-year-old at home, I knew how tough it was to vote even when there were no lines and the voting by touch screen only took 2-3 minutes.

As I saw the long lines the last few days on the evening newscasts, I kept asking myself, "why didn't these people just vote by mail?"

It's inexcusable, since a vote by mail application was sent to every household, and you could have also picked up one at public places like libraries, etc.

Anonymous said...

my absentee ballot was suppose to come in the mail and never did, i know my 3 kids wont do good in a line that long , so im sitting here :)

Anonymous said...

Why do I have spend even more of my tax money to provide daycare for anyone who can't figure out how to mail in a ballot or even swap with another mom time over the weekend to vote?

Hey, my teenager won't leave his X-Box...can you have some waiting for us at the Job Center so he can see how great life is like without the Job part when Big Brother picks up the tab?

Geez. I'm glad this generation wasn't needed in the 40s to defeat the Axis Powers. I'd be eating more sushi...with a side of sauerkraut.