I voted the old-fashioned way this evening after work. On Election Day. Yes, November 2, 2010. I got in line at the neighborhood middle school gym. I showed my identification and signed the roster. I had done the absentee ballot thing in years past. And I actually had an opportunity to do early voting a few days ago…..
Early voting…. I don’t get the concept. Seems like it was our responsibility as American citizens to get to the polls to vote for the candidates of our choice. Get to the polls!!! Sometime after the time they open and before the time they close. Have we gotten so lax that we must have several opportunities to vote at a time of our convenience???
Last week I was getting my car registration taken care of at the county annex. I was a bit irritated to see the parking lot full and a small crowd of people milling about a specific distance away from the entrance. They had signs. They had cupcakes. They had smiles as they offered the cupcakes and small cups of cold water. “Are you here to vote, sir?”
I glared back. I wasn’t ready for this. I was girding my loins for the DMV, not for kindly political soccer moms offering me cupcakes. “No,” I muttered as I rushed to the door to the DMV netherworld.
Then as my mind wandered in the DMV line, I thought….early voting….hmmmm….. Am I ready to vote early? No, not really… But, what if….maybe…. Could I get an absentee ballot and contemplate the choices in the comfort and convenience of my home? Now that’s American thinking! I had neglected to mail in my ballot request, but how could they possibly turn me down now that I was at the county clerk’s office? Especially with all this early voting hub-bub going on! Well, you would think…
I quickly took care of my truck registration and hopped over to the county clerk’s office. As I approached, the woman at the counter asked me, “Are you here to vote?”
Now I was ready for the question! I explained my keen, new, innovative, uniquely American idea…. “Could I just get a ballot and take it home???”
“But early voting is going on right now!”
“I understand, but I’d really like to take a ballot home so I can make some informed decisions.” Man, what a smart, responsible idea!!!
“Would you like a sample ballot?”
What was it this lady didn’t understand? I calmly explained that didn’t fit my keen, new, innovative, uniquely American plan.
“But, you need to send in your ballot request and the date has passed for requests and the completed ballots need to be post marked by tomorrow.”
She sounded like one of the adults on a Peanuts cartoon….Wah wah wah…. wahwahaaahhhh…. She just wasn’t grasping the keen, new, innovative, uniquely American voting scheme. I gave her a sarcastic smile and rushed off to put on my registration sticker.
The moral of the story? I wasn’t sure whether I was angry with “the man” for oppressing my creativity, or if I should be ashamed of my audacity for expecting just one more accommodation to exercise my voting obligation. I have since decided I was ashamed of myself.
What happened to everyone in America voting on Election Day? What happened to every employer accommodating their employee’s obligation to vote on Election Day? How can the latest poll results mean anything if half of the voters already voted two weeks ago? What about those sudden blizzards that throw the election out of whack in the Midwest states and offer the underdog candidate a prayer of a chance to pull off a win?
Bottom line…. I voted on THE DAY. If you didn’t vote, then you basically have run out of excuses. You had early voting, absentee ballot voting, and just plain ordinary voting. But don’t try doing any combination of those at the same time… That old-fashioned bureaucratic oppression still exists….for now!!!