By EBONY CHAPPEL
Weeks ago, I opted out of my typical weekend plans – which primarily consist of reading and Netflix, to volunteer at the Marion County voter registration office. I had no idea what I was getting into when I ran into my friend LaDonna Freeman, who runs the office, that Friday evening before my first shift.
We were talking after the NAACP annual banquet and she remarked that her office could use some help. The next evening, I showed up at the city-county building and parked myself in front of a desktop computer for a couple hours. My assignment? Sort through hundreds and hundreds of online voter registration forms and enter the information into the statewide database. Exciting, right?
No, but seriously… it was actually a lot of fun. As a person who takes joy in being a part of things bigger than myself, it was awesome to know that I was playing a role (albeit a small one) in ensuring thousands of Hoosiers would be able to show up and vote on November 8.
My coworkers and I, as the hours went on into the late night hours, relied on late 80s/early 90s jams to get us through. We cracked jokes, laughed and had a wonderful time. Another comfort came in the form of food.
I was grateful for the camaraderie and the meals as I was forced to cancel my City Suppers plans due to issues with my kitchen at home. That first night we had pizza and the next day, someone was kind enough to bring in homemade soup, barbecue chicken and rib tips. For many of the folks in the office, the city-county building was their home for the weekend as several of them worked shifts that started at 7:00 am and ended after midnight – all in an effort to process the seemingly never ending pile of applications. Despite deadline pressure and technical obstacles, the work was completed.
A feat that the voters registration office should certainly be proud of.
I’ve always found it interesting how food can be the great equalizer. No matter how tough the task before you, it’s a lot more interesting an experience with food and friends involved.