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Here is what makes our section of Bastrop County special

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 3:00 pm

Last week on Election Day, I served as Elections Clerk in Precinct 4021 here in McDade. I have done this for several elections in the past few years, and I enjoy it. My colleagues are my neighbors, and it gives me a chance to see and meet more neighbors as I check them in. 

My first such experience was in 1964 during the Presidential Election. The only person I’ll mention here by name is Bridgette Escobedo, Bastrop County’s outstanding Elections Administrator. At each election’s training session, she demonstrates her exceptional skill in having everything completely organized and easy to understand. We in the field know to call her office immediately if a problem arises. “Do not turn any voter away” is her/our mantra.

A feature I find quite interesting is the “no crossover” yellow cable. In our primaries, a voter of one party affiliation can “cross over” to the other party to grind an ax or otherwise vote for or against candidates they want to see defeated in the General Election. 

However, this “yellow cable” addresses that famous philosophy of “vote early and vote often,” or, “This is how Grandpa would vote if he were alive.” The yellow cable magically ties into both parties’ databases, so no person can vote once, then again somewhere else for the other party.

Having spent many hours sitting at airport departure gates, I’ve become quite the people-watcher. Observing those who come by my table to vote each election is an education.

Here is an elderly man, bent over nearly at a 90-degree angle. He could vote absentee, or even curbside (we would take the ballot out to his vehicle). No, he is of my generation, so I suspect that it is his conviction to vote in person at the ballot box as long as he is able—which he has done for several elections.

There was, of course, the usual sprinkling of war vet caps: most Vietnam-era, but members of “The Greatest Generation” took their places in line too. Several of these men are accompanied by their patient caregiver, whose days must seem quite long, sometimes. My mother was one of those.

Now here is my colleagues’ granddaughter with her newborn. When the baby’s mother tries to shuffle her burdens around so she can mark a ballot, the baby starts fussing. Like a shot, Gramma/Great Gramma is out of her seat. The next sight you see is her cuddling that great-grandchild (#5) while the young mother votes.

A particular (non-ballot) thread uniting many voters this election is the condition of Brown Road—a 3.2 mile stretch of dog-legged road from Lexington Road to Waco Street in downtown McDade. 

Brown Road has been “under construction” for a very long time. Some sort of grey clay substance is now shmeered on its surface, creating a grey-brown montage on the side of our vehicles. 

Out of sheer embarrassment, I recently took mine to a swirl-around car wash, which did an OK job on the car body, but the tire sidewalls remain grey. You can spot a “Brown Road Car” a block away, thanks to the after-market mud job on its sides. 

When I recognized the address of a voter who is on or uses Brown Road, I asked, “How dirty is your car?” That set off an understandable range of grimaces and exhalations of disgust.  

So, even as we salute those 200 or so Americans/Texans who voted at our precinct, I also ask you, whether you voted or not, to join us in a portion of “The Brown Chorus.”

It goes like this:

“They’re tearing up Brown Road again, again;

 They’re tearing up Brown Road again!”

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