Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Curmudgeon objects to early voting... what do you think?

My friend Steve's son was home for the weekend. He attends college out of state. When I spoke with Steve yesterday, I asked whether his son had taken advantage of the opportunity to vote early (early voting began in Illinois on October 13) or whether he was voting absentee.

Not only did Steve's son vote early, Steve told me, the entire family trooped over to the local library where an early voting site has been established and all of them voted.

I wasn't sure I approved of this, and I said so. Steve asked why.

It's one thing, I said, for a college kid to do this... because he or she isn't home on Election Day. Absentee ballots can get lost in the mail, going or coming, or might arrive too late to be counted. But shouldn't everyone else exercise the franchise on the appointed day?

Why? Steve asked again. He knew who he was voting for, he was fully informed on the issues and the candidates, and it would be extraordinarily unlikely that anything in these next couple of weeks would change his mind.

I can't argue with this... but I still have reservations.

First, voting on Election Day is something we all do together. Or we have done. Not everyone listened to Jack Benny on the radio... but people could walk down the street during the show on a warm Sunday night and hear the program coming from window after window. Not everyone watched Ed Sullivan when the Beatles appeared... but most of the nation did.

There's something to be said for doing things together... even if we will be voting differently... for different reasons. Will that sense be lost if you vote on Thursday and I vote on Sunday?

And, then, of course, comes my real objection: Voting early brings with it no relief from political commercials. If voting early would carry with it immunity from further bombardment by these... interminable... frustrating... mean-spirited... commercials, I might have been first in line on Columbus Day.

But Steve had an answer even for this:

I will give the idea urgent consideration.

In the meantime, what do you think of early voting? Have you done it? Are you satisfied that your vote has been recorded?


sari said...

I have my ballot but I'm filling it out early, and then taking it into the polling place to be counted on Election Day.

We have tivo, and frankly, I'd keep tivo over a cell phone. It's one of the best things ever invented. I'm not a huge tv fan but there are shows I like to watch and it's nice to be able to watch them when I have the time. We watch The Price is Right during dinner, my kids love it.

Are you NaBloPoMo'ing this year, by the way?? I haven't heard from you in a while, I was just wondering.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

you make a good point curmy. i usually do take advantage of early voting, don't know way. this year we won't be back for it though so will vote on the 4th. i don't like absentee ballots at all, i think they don't get counted. i may be wrong but i still think it!

smiles, bee