Sunday, November 2, 2008

What's the rush?

So many people from all over the country are voting early this year, either sending in absentee ballots even though they will be at home and able-bodied on election day or heading to early voting locations. I have to say I don't get the appeal. I know I'm not exactly the most traditional person around, but on this, I'm old school. I'll be getting up early on Tuesday and walking to my polling location (less than a block from my house). I will wait in line as long as I have to, though I have a hard time imagining I will really have to wait too long. My last presidential election in this town, I only had to wait 20 minutes or so. Even if I have to wait 4 hours, it'll be worth it. I can't think of a better use of my time than waiting with my fellow citizens for my turn to have my say.

I cast an absentee ballot one time: 1992 when I was a college student living in Minnesota. At least I think I did. (P, if I voted in MN let me know. I might be confusing my primary vote with my general election vote.) But at the time, I was a sophomore in college and definitely still thought of myself as a Kansan so it made sense that I would want to vote in congressional elections of the state I still felt like a part of.

In every other case, I have gone to the polls on election day. There's just something about the vibe. Seeing all the other folks exercising their right. Feeling the power of democracy in action. I love it and I wouldn't miss it for anything.

I know that I have a job that will allow me to miss way more than 2 hours to vote, where others might not. And it surely is much less convenient to go to the polls for those who have small children. But for me, as long as I am physically able, I will always make it a top priority to head to the polls on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. Filling out a ballot in the comfort of your own home and mailing it in days ahead of time may be satisfying to some and others may like going on a Saturday or some other off day to get their vote in and done with. But I think nothing beats getting my ballot on election day, going into that little booth and pulling the curtains shut behind me, and then personally putting my ballot in the ballot box.

Of course, in the end, it really doesn't matter whether you vote early, absentee, or on election day just so long as you vote.


Unknown said...

I have no recollection of voting in Northfield. Hence we must have done absentee ballots! I think my first time in actual voting booth was in Hopkins in 96.

My polling places have never had curtains to pull shut. I must say I'm a little jealous!

S said...

A quick search on wikipedia proves I did vote absentee in 1992 because I know I once voted against Bob Dole and his last election was 1992.

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