Growing Up As a Citizen

Updated: Jan 17

By Sheyla Street

6:00 a.m. is the time I was told to arrive but I got there at 6:20. The address—1124 N. 11th Street—was where I was supposed to work for my first day as a poll worker, but my dad drove me to the wrong place. A handful of older voters were waiting with their chairs. As it happened, I worked there all day.

A lady prepared with her pen and pad, walked up and asked my dad, “Are you Eric?”

“No,” he said. “I am here to drop my daughter off. She was assigned to be a machine operator here.”

The other lady yelled across the room, “What ward?” Then she recognized my dad. “Hey, Mr. Street, how you doin?” She sounded super familiar so I figured she knew him from his days working at the Penrose Playground. “What you doin? I know you ain't workin the polls.”

“Nah, I am here to drop my daughter off.”

Although my dad’s constant announcement that I was his daughter annoyed me, it also comforted me. I was going to be at this rec center all day, until it got dark again, so it felt good to know these people were familiar with me in some way. Twenty minutes later, at about 6:40, Eric, the Judge of Elections for the Fourth Ward, finally showed up.