During our phone call Sunday I asked her if she'd registered in her new state and whether she got an absentee ballot. She told me my sister had taken care of it for her.
"Did you vote yet?"
"Oh yes! Well actually, your sister did it for me."
"Did you tell her which ones to pick?"
"Oh no. She did it."
"She just went through and marked every 'R'?"
"I guess so!"
So that is how my mother voted. My oldest sister (a conservative Republican) made all my mom’s selections and my mom seems fine with this. My sister tends to vote exactly the way her (ultra-conservative, Catholic, ex-cop, ex-Navy) partner votes. I’m not sure she reads her voter's guide. I know she gets most of her "news" from the Fox network, because that’s what her partner watches.
Did Mom know anything about the local or state initiatives on the ballot? No she did not. But she voted!
My sister’s partner effectively got three votes. I became furious when I realized this. My husband quietly reminded me that "There are a LOT of households in America where that’s the rule." Was that supposed to make me feel better? My brother-in-law and his friends with their multiple votes won the election. Mom’s happy that nice Mr. Bush is staying in the White House. She doesn't trust "that other fellow."
Mother has always voted Republican and does it "because my dad was a Republican." She says this as if it's a complete explanation. My own father was an old Roosevelt Democrat. Each election he cracked the same corny joke: "I have to go vote -- I need to cancel out your mother's votes!" That is, until the year of our very first political argument, the year he voted to re-elect Richard Nixon. I was never as disappointed in my father as I was in the moment I learned of his betrayal. I didn't speak to him for a full day. I gloated far harder and longer than a good daughter would when Nixon left office in disgrace. If Dad were still alive I'm almost sure I'd still be saying, "I told you so!"
In all fairness, I think all of Mom’s daughters should get a turn to vote for her come election time. Next election, I'm volunteering.