Remembering a mother’s lifelong commitment to voting – and chocolate – The San Gabriel Valley Tribune


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My mother never understood people who said their vote didn’t matter. She always voted, no matter the circumstance. Since she didn’t drive, and we lived in the suburbs, she took a bus to her polling place because it was too far to walk. And because she took me with her, I got to know how important it was to her.
From a young age, I associated voting with getting a treat, like the ice cream mom would buy for me after she voted. I had not yet learned that the real treat was the privilege to vote.
She rarely discussed political parties. Her emphasis was on candidates and the issues. In her later years, my husband and I would go to her nursing home and complete the ballots together. It became her favorite social event. We discussed the issues and propositions as well as the candidates’ positions with mom. This often sparked lively discussions.
The tradition of treats carried through until the last time she voted, at the age of 100. We always arrived at what she called her ballot party with something chocolate.
My mother loved voting at the polls. She did, however, finally have to make the decision to vote by mail-in ballot. When she moved to a retirement home in California in her late 80s, she was thrilled to find out that the local polling place was in-house, thus into her late 80s she was a volunteer at the polls… happily putting in nine-hour days.
When her eyesight started to fail, mom sometimes asked me to point out the box she wanted to mark. As she sat in her wheelchair, voting with her shaking hand, I was struck by her commitment to vote.
Even when the physical act of marking her ballot became challenging, the young mother, who took her daughter on the bus to the polls all those years ago, maintained her dedication to the voting process until she died at the age of 101.
I hope you will join me in honoring my mother’s memory by voting Tuesday, November 8 in the midterm elections. And don’t forget to treat yourself to a little chocolate after you vote. Mom would insist.
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