Today is the first day of early voting in North Carolina. If you are reading this after 11am the chances are that I have already voted.
I remember the first time I voted. It was November 7, 1972. I put on a suit and tie, walked a few hundred feet down my side street and entered a trailer set up on a vacant lot as a polling station. A lot has changed in 50 years. Today I’ll drive to a community center a few miles away and judging by the weather forecast and my retirement status I’ll most likely be wearing jeans.
These days most states allow some type(s) of early voting. I hate to sound like a TV commercial but check your local listings. Voting shouldn’t be a just show up thing. I printed out a sample ballot and did some research about several issues a week or so ago. Armed with the knowledge of for whom and for what to vote for I made my plan for when and where to vote.
I recommend early voting for everyone. The bottom line is that if you put it off to Election Day life can and often does happen disrupting your best intentions. I’m an old white male living in a majority white and Republican area so chances are nobody is going to try to disenfranchise me. Not all Americans are in my situation.
This is another case where I hope I am wrong but I fear there will be widespread voter intimidation effort on Election Day mainly at majority Black polling places. These efforts, especially in the cases where law enforcement will not be very aggressive in protecting the rights of would-be voters, will be effective. The reality is that you can’t do them everyday as part of a sustained effort and maintain that effectiveness. Therefore, they will pop up almost exclusively on Election Day.
Voting is the single most effective thing the average Joe or Jane can do. Doubt me? Then answer me why the Republicans work so hard to suppress the vote. Part of what you do in voting is help decide how your tax dollars are spent. You are going to get taxed -and its much more than just income tax – regardless so why not have a say in it?
Based on mid-October polling many Senate and Governor races are within the margin of error. The possibility of a 50-50 Senate again exists. The majority of Republican candidates running for high office are election deniers. Many are running on a platform of voter nullification if elected. Saying democracy is on the ballot is not hyperbole! It’s the paraphrasing of an old political cliché but every vote may very well count to the point of being the difference.
The Senate is my area of special interest. Of the 10 most highly contested races the margin of polling advantage actually favors the Democrats. That makes the impact of even a small number of votes huge.
Democratic leaning voters tend to live in fewer but much more densely populated areas. Therefore, it is much easier to target those precincts for voter intimidation. I am far from alone in that I live in an open carry state. Wouldn’t you be at least to some degree intimidated and/or uncomfortable if you had to wait in line outside a polling place where a group of guys playing dress up soldier/hunter were standing around with assault type rifles on display?
The simple answer is to avoid the possibilities of a bad experience and vote early at your relative convenience.
I have a plan – actually a Plan A and several Plan Bs. Do you have a plan? If not and if you have not already voted early what are you waiting for?
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