Many Oklahomans who voted in the Nov. 6 election found themselves in lines that kept them standing for 45 minutes or an hour or, in some cases, even close to three hours before they received their ballot. Horrors!
Officials with the Oklahoma State Election Board said that of the estimated 1,000 complaints received via email on Election Day and beyond, the majority pertained to the long lines. And yes, the lines were a hassle.
But it's worth remembering exactly what people were standing in line for. They weren't waiting for the latest iPhone or the premier of another Harry Potter or Twilight movie, occasions that routinely produce dayslong lines across the country. Instead, they were waiting for the privilege to take part in the most hallowed right of any American — the right to vote in free and open elections.
How many people around the world would gladly trade places? We recall Iraq in 2005, when Iraqis lined up for hours despite rocket attacks, suicide bombers and threats to vote in the country's first free elections in 50 years. Those elections, it's worth noting, were made possible through the sacrifices of American troops.
When we whine about long voting lines, we do a disservice to those who fought in places like Belleau Wood and Bastogne to secure America's freedom. We do a disservice to those men and women in uniform today who are helping to ensure our liberty.
That doesn't mean improvements can't be made. Legislators should listen to county election board officials who say precinct volume wasn't considered when lawmakers redrew congressional districts — resulting in huge lines at some precincts, no lines at others. They also should consider bumping pay for poll workers, if possible.
Meantime, don't lose sight of what the griping is about — waiting longer than we'd like, on one day every few years, in order to vote. Relax, people.