Lessons Learned After Voting For The First Time In Alabama

Today I voted for the first time in my life in the state of Alabama. I quickly learned it's a different experience than voting in Florida.

November 3rd, 2020 known to the world as the day the United States decides their 46th President. To me, this was the day I voted in Alabama for the first time. I've been a Florida voter all of my life. I really imagined voting in another state.

When election season first started, I had no idea who to call for voter information in the state, or what candidates were running. All things I usually know seemingly on instinct back home. Fast forward past lots of research, and learning resources, it's election day!

I saw first hand how long it could take voting in Alabama. A few weeks ago I witnessed absentee ballot voters waiting 3 plus hours just to vote. My wife happened to be one of those people. Knowing that, and hearing all the nationwide talk of voter suppression, I prepared myself to spend at least 5 hours at the polls today.

 

While in the line I was next to two black women who were in their 80's. They were talking with others in line about the importance of voting, how much they value the work it took just to get the right for us as black people to vote. Out of a large number of people in line to vote, I'd say 98% of them were black.

The gentleman in front of me in line even said he'd "Never seen this many black people in line to vote. Waiting so patiently and quiet." He was an older gentleman and I could only imagine his experiences growing up wanting to vote.

Voting in Alabama taught me just how much it means to have the right to vote. We're in the south where Jim Crow laws existed. And now black people are in those same states, voting because we fought for the right to do so. Out of the many lessons I learned voting in Alabama today, I'm most thankful for the realization of gratefulness.

Growing up in Florida, I felt disconnected to a certain extent from "the south." I also feel that being in the south as a black person teaches you different lessons than you'd learn in "the city." Today, I'm thankful for all those who fought for our right to vote and I'm grateful to be learning so many life lessons from the people of Alabama.

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