This morning I drove into the Brighton Nazarene Church parking lot because the church is the polling place for my precinct. There were a good number of cars and I was ready for the wait. I was not prepared for the person seated in a chair near the building wearing her candidate's name emblazoned on her shirt and holding a political yard sign. I told her that where she had placed herself was illegal and that she needed to move. She told me that she was not aware of any election rules that would prevent her from being right there in the parking lot in her chair.
I went into the polling place and found the poll manager. I registered a complaint and asked that the campaigner be asked to move. It took a call to and a visit from the county clerk's office for the woman to move to the other side of the parking lot.
When I finished voting, I talked to her. I showed her my "cheat sheet" where I had written down the candidates I would vote for. Her candidate was among them. I told her that the candidate did not receive my vote today. She told me that now she was "legal". I asked her to take a moment to consider why there were no other candidates or signs where people were exiting and returning to their cars. She may have sat on the edge of "legal", but she was fully in the territory of intrusive.
I love voting. I have voted in every national and local election since registering at 18. I celebrate that this is one place where the people of the United States speak as one. We may speak with different voices and raise different agendas and names, but each of us is connected as we speak in freedom. The polling place, stripped of its campaign buttons, t-shirts, banners, and signs is a symbol for that hard won free voice.