We the people

I always get up early, but not early enough to be first in line to vote in Haddon Heights, NJ this morning.

That distinction belonged to Joe Stevens, 62, a father of three who walked a block from his home to the municipal building on Station Avenue.  After that, it was off to his job as a mail carrier in Princeton Township.

As a half dozen poll workers inside the Conway Seniors Auditorium prepared to open the doors at 6 a.m., Stevens and I chatted; he declined to say whom he would vote for, but noted that he has never missed a presidential election. He also described voting as a both a right and a privilege, a theme echoed by other crack-of-dawn voters.

Connie DiVincenzo, 63, a clerical worker at Cooper University Hospital,  said this presidential election is pivotal. Her son Brian, 24, a groundsman, said people who don’t vote should not complain about the state of the nation. And Matt Enuco, 28, who teaches physical education at Glassboro High School, put it this way: “I think every vote does count....we have the power to change things, one person at a time.”

I've been voting for 40 years, and sometimes it's hard not to feel a bit...cynical. But as residents of my little town lined up before sunrise to cast their ballots, I felt proud. And grateful.