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Make History; Vote Early

By       Message Betsy L. Angert     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

In this election year, America has made history.  Throughout the country, people are able to vote early.  Millions have decided to take advantage of what never was this easy to do, contribute to the greater community.  The question is will the once apathetic, those who felt powerless, or the people who were willing to be labeled as lazy participate.  

Might any of these individuals be deterred by the rumors.  Absentee ballots and tallies transmitted before the official election date will not count.  Ballots are altered by machines or perhaps, inept poll workers.  Proper attire must be worn or a constituent will be refused a place at the polls.  Could citizens consider the lines are long as an excuse to wait or a reason to forfeit the role they may play in the future of this nation.  There is much to ponder.  

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Perhaps the reason people do not partake is the survey is too long. Initiatives, Judges, Representatives, and the Presidential race; some might say there is just too much to research.  However, in America today, wherever a person may go there is talk of tomorrow, a hope for change, fear of what could be, and most importantly a sense that anything is possible.  After all, if citizens can choose early, and the hours to vote are more extensive, perchance, for the first time ever, more, if not every eligible American will have a say.  Apparently, the novel arrangement known as "early voting" appears to be a triumphant.

We may not yet know which candidates will win.  Nevertheless, it seems the people are a bit more victorious.  Countless pound the pavement.  The electorate runs, walks, bikes, and drives to the polls in numbers never seen before.  People hope to make history, to bring about change, to secure a sense of commitment to country such that America has never known.  An expanded opportunity to contribute to the choice of President has an effect on the possible outcome of this election.  The chance to speak through a ballot, coupled with what some express as, a greater need to voice personal preferences, the public heads for the poll en masse. 

The Success of Early Voting 
The New York Times 
October 30, 2008

A lot is going wrong in this election, from malfunctioning electronic voting machines to voters being purged mistakenly from the rolls.  But one thing is going very right: early voting.  In the more than 30 states that allow early or no-excuse absentee voting, voters have been casting ballots in record numbers.  Early voting has many advantages.  The main one is that it makes it likely that more eligible voters will participate in democracy.

Election Day has traditionally been held on a single day - a Tuesday.  Congress scheduled federal elections on Tuesdays because they worked well for farmers and Sabbath observers.  But in the 21st century, having one day to vote is an antiquated relic.  Voters have to fit in a visit to the polls with their work, family and other responsibilities.  Many cannot find the time, particularly when lines are as long as they have been in recent times.

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The answer, as many states have discovered, is to move away from a single day of voting and allow voters to cast ballots over a period of days or weeks. . .

Some people are wary of early voting.  As Susan Saulny reported in The Times on Wednesday, there are rumors in the African-American community in Jacksonville, Fla., that early voting is a scam and that the votes cast early would be discarded.  Given Florida's history with electoral mischief, some skepticism about election procedures is not only understandable, but necessary.

But the truth is that early voting actually makes it harder for the forces of disenfranchisement to stop eligible voters from casting ballots.  If election officials try to require voters to present ID when it is not required by law, early voting gives voters a chance to simply return the next day.  Dirty tricks are also harder to pull off.  If political operatives want to jam get-out-the-vote telephone lines, as they did on Election Day in New Hampshire in 2002, it would be harder to do if people voted over two weeks. 

Tittle-tattle, tales of what will go wrong, or has, may be unfounded, or at least far less dire than reported.  While problems still exist, purged ballots, misplaced tickets, and other antics are less likely when the time to vote is spread over days, and even weeks.  Challenges can be corrected. Dilemmas dealt with.  Quandaries quickly resolved.  Hence, eligible voters enjoy.  

Chat with those in your community while you wait to cast a ballot for your county and for the children who cannot yet legally speak for the concerns that will transform life for them.  Take comfort in the knowledge that time will pass and you can be a part of what will be better for the Seventh Generation.  Settle in as you sit with your absentee form and do the research.  Remember, the young, the old, those soon-to-be born, the ill, the impoverished, even the affluent will be affected by your decision.  Be part of the choice this country makes.  Feel empowered.  Make history. Vote early.

Reference: for a newer reality . . . 


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