Election Day

Democracy is a great blessing that God has allowed us; please join me in praying that we use it well today.

I walked to our local polling location about an hour ago. It’s very near our house, and I’d hoped to get there earlier today to avoid any long lines but had been unable to get away from work. Sure enough, as I rounded the corner, I saw a very long line waiting to get into the church that continues to serve our community as a polling location (just as it did when it was a public elementary school). Initially, I lamented the long line, but then I thought that it was good to see so many people exercising their right to vote.

A few minutes later, conversation with those at the end revealed that was the line for the church’s biweekly food distribution, not for voting, and I happily left the long line to enter the voting door instead. Inside, three election workers gave me a friendly greeting and easy instructions, but there was no one else there to vote. I commented that I’d been in the long line outside and that I wished the lines were opposite: that there were that many lined up to vote and that no one needed the help with food. I marked my ballot, which featured few contested races, and scanned it in the machine. I was the 94th person to do so there today.

I’m grateful for the blessing of having a safe democracy. Whatever tonight’s results are, we won’t have riots and looting and angry protests. We won’t hear stories of poll workers blocking opposition voters or coercing them to vote a certain way or committing rape or other violence against the public like the BBC reported last year, and we won’t have to demand an ousted leader accept the election and step down like in Bolivia recently. I am grateful that God has protected us from those situations, and I pray for the people in them there and in other places (including friends) and that we will never have them here.

But I also admire the commitment of people willing to endure such dangers and oppression for the sake of participating in democracy, and I pray that we will embrace it more faithfully and wisely here where it is so accessible.

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