Publisher’s Point: Reflections On The 2020 Election

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

I waited as long as I possibly could on Wednesday to pen this Point without sending my cool Athens Now production crew into a full-on conniption (which I would have completely deserved). So, as of 7:30 p.m., we had no idea who was going to be our president, and the coup-counter-coup of conspiracy theories and accusations ranged from the amusing to the amazing.

On election night, FOX News early on showed Joe Biden blasting through ‘Bama with a 60-something point win in comparison to Donald Trump’s 30-something score. Then, they put the all-important check mark next to Mr. Biden’s name. WHAT WAS THAT? Thankfully, FOX dealt with their faux pas (which technically in French means false step) after taking a lot of understandable flak. Alabama managed to get all of their votes counted within a few hours, and while there were shake ups, at least from my perch, it seemed as though the waters that ran through our particular voting and counting process were pure. I want to thank everyone in our county who worked at and protected the polls and the process. You treated it and us as the sacred charge that it is; one that is fragile and purchased with blood.

When I went to cast my vote, arriving at 6:45 a.m. to get in line, it was comforting to see the level of care, consideration, security, and professionalism exhibited by all of the poll workers. The machine that reads your ballot went down, and we had to wait until the tech guy arrived to fix it. No one groaned, and people waited patiently. In addition, I learned something that I never knew about the voting process as it pertains to what is called an “emergency ballot.” While the machine was down, and it was obvious that there were people trying to get to work, the woman in charge told us that if anyone wanted to cast an emergency ballot they could do so right then. Their ballot would be put in a secure box, and at 7:15, the sheriff would come and feed the ballot into the machine in plain view of the ballot workers. No one else is allowed to touch the ballot except for the sheriff. A couple of people opted for that and were on their way.

It appears that the 2020 “Hanging Chad Award” (which is a reference to the Battle of the Ballot in Florida in the 2000 election) so far goes to Wisconsin. President Trump has asked for a recount, and rumors swirl with regard to gobs of mail-in votes mysteriously showing up in the wee hours. So far the president’s team has filed three lawsuits against the states of Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. We shall see what we shall see….

For me, besides the gratitude I felt at living in America and being able to cast my vote, what I will forever remember about Election Day 2020 was having the great pleasure of helping two women vote for the first time in their lives. One was 50 years old and had never voted because she felt overwhelmed and unconfident. One was 71, had been forbidden by her family to vote and threatened with being disowned if she did. To see the smiles of confidence on their faces at making personal history, in the midst of history being made, is something that shall stick with me for the rest of my life. Stay tuned, dear readers. The “last chad” is yet to be punched through!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner