Sunday, October 26, 2008

Absentee Voting

I like Thanks, But No Thanks to Absentee Voting from the Washington Post's Marie Coco:

"I’ve always been slow to embrace new fads. I didn’t go for brown as the “new black,” and since purple is now the “new black,” I’m certainly glad I stuck with the old. The same for following my parents’ example of never buying on credit. Boy, did that one work out.

As Election Day approaches, I revel in my fuddy-duddy habits. I live in the battleground state of Virginia, where voter registration has increased 10 percent in advance of November’s presidential election, where Democrat Barack Obama has invested huge sums in a sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation and where Republicans are pushing their precinct captains to hang onto a state that hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964. Election officials are so fearful of a chaotic crush at the polls that they’re urging people to vote early with absentee ballots. Though absentee voting in the commonwealth requires voters to meet one of several conditions, officials have nonetheless made it clear that -- ahem -- it’s easy to qualify. (And voters requesting presidential-race-only ballots don't even need an excuse.)

Sorry, I just can’t. I know that if I do vote early, I’ll miss out on long lines, sore feet and the possibility of confronting an over-taxed electronic machine that might malfunction.
But here’s what else I’ll miss -- and what can’t be replaced by a quick-and-convenient early vote: Being pressed to take that one last flier from a volunteer as I walk toward the elementary school; purchasing a treat from the PTA mothers who will set up a bake-sale table outside the polls; enjoying the children’s artwork in the hallway as the line to vote snakes through the school corridors; chatting with neighbors I haven’t seen in months.

There is something magical that happens at the polls on Election Day. It is a renewal of civic culture that marks the first moment of reconciliation after the incivility of a contemporary presidential campaign."

This is why I want my nieces to come with me to the polls on November 4th, although of course they have gone with their parents!

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