Uncategorized | 4:09 pm | November 4, 2008 | By Bharat Ayyar

One vote

By Bharat Ayyar

NEW HAVEN, 4:09 p.m. — Seven months ago, I became a United States citizen.  And today, I cast my first ballot.

I’ll admit it: it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be.  I arrived at my designated polling location — the New Haven Public Library on Elm Street — and got in line.  There was no chatter, no fanfare.  People mostly kept to themselves; they were reading books, texting on their cellphones and staring into space.

Where I envisioned a cascade of high-fives for every person who passed the queue on his way out, there were just glazed over eyes (okay, maybe a smile or two).  Where I envisioned a smattering of students, professors and New Haven residents belting out the national anthem, there was just muffled chatter about tomorrow’s problem set.

No matter.  I waited my turn.  I gave them my name.  I cast my ballot.

I was luckier than one gentleman, who was in line in front of me.  He had already tried to vote at another polling station, which referred him to the one I was at.  But when it was his turn to vote, they referred him back to the polling station he came from.  Clearly upset, he left without much of a fight.  (I wonder, did he have the patience to go back?)

As he walked away, one of the volunteers working at booth said, quite simply: “Damn.”

I ran into a member of last year’s Yale Daily News editorial board, as I was leaving the library.

“Hey,” she said, expecting, I think, me to stop-and-chat about tonight’s newspaper.

For whatever reason, I didn’t stop walking (sorry, K).  Instead, I just pumped my fist and blurted out the first thing that came to my mind: “God bless America.”

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