As I watched the volunteer at my polling place open up the side of the bin on the ballot box, I couldn't help but think about what might have been. I had arrived just a few minutes past seven in the morning, and I had finally achieved my goal: to be the first to cast my ballot at that location. I have been early a number of times, but never first. This afforded me the opportunity to be the citizen who got to inspect the bin inside the machine. Both the ballot box and the debris basket were free of paper. I was certain to be the first to start to fill it up.
And still I continued to wonder: What if? What if California had held off in its need to be first, or nearly first, in the presidential primaries? What if all of California's delegates were still essentially up for grabs on this, the final day of voting? Would the drama of the past two years have shaken down any differently than it has if California, as well as those claim-jumpers in Florida and Michigan? What if every delegate counted as one? What if everyone had waited their turn?
I continued to mull this notion as I went to my tagboard cubicle to carefully draw my lines connecting the two ends of the arrow to complete my ballot. What if we were electing our party's nominee via popular vote, instead of the current convoluted process of delegates and superdelegates and uberdelgates? What if we were asked to vote for the president one time, and the first place candidate won, with the second place winner would be vice-president? There is still the matter of the electoral college and how it reflects the people's votes. What if every vote counted?
Then I was finished filling out my ballot. The biggest issue for us was a city council race and a hotly contested state senate seat. I didn't mind much. I knew that I was going to be first, and I guess that was really what got me there with time to ponder all of this in the first place. But on my way out, I wondered if all those same volunteers would be back in November.