Electoral Ponderings

Filed under: @ 9:27 am

Listening to NPR this morning we were, of course, treated to a large volume of election coverage of one type or another. One story in particular struck me.
In the last – maybe – 20 years voting in person at one’s local precinct has become far less common. In this particular story the reporter was interviewing several people at an early voting site in Ohio. Some were voting early to avoid the election day crowds, some were voting because they had other commitments on election day that would keep them from being able to vote, a couple were at the early voting site only because they had driven friends who were voting at the early voting site, but who planned themselves to be at their local precincts voting in person on election day. The excitement of the environment of the precinct voting was what these people were after.
And it occurred to me to wonder.
I’ve almost always been a mail-in voter. When I was a child I’d occasionally go with my parents to their local precinct when they went to vote and I have to admit, it was cool with all the official election paraphernalia, the voting booths, etc. And I’d do it as an adult except…..
Except that voting by mail is much more convenient in that I don’t have to get up early on election day, get ready for work early, then drive to my local polling station to stand in line to wait to vote and risk being late for work.

When did a privilege, a duty of a free adult living in a democracy, an OBLIGATION to my country, my fellow citizens, and myself, become a nuisance? Something that you HAVE to do.
One of the voters at the early polling station that was interviewed on the NPR story was saying “I wish there were some way to make it easier. Maybe some day people can vote at home somehow — like on their computers or something.”

I have a boss who would absolutely be understanding and supportive of my tardiness if I were late to work because I had been voting.
Legal or no, I wonder how many people don’t? Especially those disenfranchised voters working low wage high turnover jobs. I wonder how many don’t vote because they can’t risk their job for a process that might matter, in however small a fashion, to them, but doesn’t matter to a working environment that only sees people as a function of their attendance and their production?

I don’t think voting should become easier. I don’t like the idea of changing “Election Day” to “Election Season” (GOD forbid this process gets drawn out any longer. I swear, one more campaign ad and I’m going to slit my wrists!). Our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents (or, in my case I’m old enough that only my great grandfathers) wouldn’t have blinked at the idea of missing work, rescheduling appointments, or doing whatever needed to be done to be able to cast their votes.
I don’t think voting should become easier.
I think voting should become more important.

Happy Election Day everyone.

All portions of this site are © Andrew Lenzer, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.