On a clear day in November: Voting in Rahway, New Jersey
Rahway is a bandbox of a town in central New Jersey where people never hang around for long.
The reason for that are the two train lines which normally chug into Rahway. One is the Northeast Corridor which runs from New York to the capital of New Jersey, Trenton. Then there is the North Jersey Coast line which goes down from New York to Long Branch and then Bayhead in the southern part of the state.
People from the towns surrounding Rahway like Clark or Colonia would drive into the car garage that our apartment overlooks before they hop the train to New York City.
We live in an apartment called Skyview, halfway up its 16 floors where we could hear the plaintive toot-toot of the trains in the mornings and late afternoons.
During spring and summer, we would cross the street into a plaza where small farmers hawk their summer fruit and corn, but they have now vanished as the cold winds of fall sweep away the leaves of trees rapidly turning bare.
The day of the vote for the next U.S. president dawned like most Tuesdays for me.
I snapped awake at half past five. Streaks of sunlight glimmered on the horizon after taking a hot shower that totally woke me up, for a few minutes at least.
The drive to Middlesex County College in Edison normally takes about 30-35 minutes.
I swung by a Dunkin’ Donuts shop to pick up a sandwich and a bottle of orange juice. I do not take the highway, using backroads to take in the scenery. The air is bracing at that time of the morning and I cleared my head while listening to a Ryan Cayabyab song sung by Lea Salonga.
I got to the school parking lot and ate my breakfast, gathering my thoughts for my Reading class and the day ahead.
At the end of the class, I asked a few of my students if they have voted. That was the only time I asked the class anything about the election.
The drive home was quick because I had to start my shift in an online job.
Lunch was fish and squid balls.
We went out at 4 pm for the walk to the polling precinct. After a really frigid morning, the day had turned very mild.
The walk took all of 5 minutes. After checking my driver’s license, I was given ballot number 498. People were coming off work so the wait in line took another half hour.
Women in walkers patiently waited for their turn to vote. When I finally got behind the curtain, the voting machine would light up when you pressed the candidate’s name.
I pressed the space for Hillary Clinton. I then worked my way down the Congressional candidates, voting Democrat all the way.
There were about 3 ballot questions. I pressed no on more casinos in New Jersey and yes on using fuel taxes for infrastructure. I couldn’t even remember the last ballot question.
The last step was to press the submit button and the vote was cast.
By the time me and my wife got out of the polling station, the sun was almost down.
The walk back from the precinct passed by quietly. We picked up the mail and was back in the flat. The TV was tuned to MSNBC, blaring the latest news on the elections.
A few days ago, I reminded my daughter to vote. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the state is hotly contested between Clinton and Trump.
“I voted. Yup. Now I’m going back to sleep till this is all over,” my daughter posted on Facebook.
She supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, but voted for Clinton as part of her contribution in making sure Trump does not get near the White House.
It is the second time I have voted in a U.S. presidential election. The first time was in 2012 when I voted for Barack Obama.
Counting off to myself, I have voted for an African-American and a woman for president, a position that had been previously occupied by 43 white men.
Honestly, can someone in good conscience vote for a guy as execrable as Trump?
About a dozen women have come forward to say they were sexually groped or assaulted by Trump. Can all of them be lying?
But I did my civic duty so that part of the day is now done. – Rappler.com
Rene Pastor is a journalist in the New York metropolitan area who writes about agriculture, politics and regional security. He was, for many years, a senior commodities journalist for Reuters. He is known for his extensive knowledge of international affairs, agriculture and the El Niño phenomenon where his views have been quoted in news reports.
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