I’m voting tonight.
Voting early. Only by a week. But early still. I’m ready.
Well, at least I thought I was ready. I began studying the issues, initiatives – there are 17 on our state’s ballot this year – a month ago. I’m still studying. Some of these are complex issues. If you try to read through the language of the law chances are, no matter how well educated you are, you’re going to find yourself slightly lost. Most people I know talk to other people or consult mailers or friends to figure out how to vote. But I’m not exactly sure because we don’t often discuss it. Too polarizing. These kinds of views are closely held for reasons.
In addition to all of the materials the election people send, there are fliers and pamphlets from people who would like to weigh in on how I vote. Do you get those too?
I appreciate the right to vote for issues that concern my city, county, state and country.
The process of voting early is in some ways less satisfying than going to the polls to vote. I love standing in line with neighbors, signing in, punching the ballot in that little booth. I remember the days of dressing up my kids in red, white, and blue and taking them to vote with me from the time they were in strollers. They always got a pretend ballot and got to vote too. We all got “I voted” stickers. This is the first presidential election both of my children will be able to vote in.
I loved taking my youngest to vote for the first time. Pretty sure she loved it too.
It’s gratifying knowing they know what they think and will cast their votes accordingly.
A friend of mine shared her early vote ballot with me. She sits with a friend of hers who is a judge and goes through each measure one at a time. They discuss the language of each measure and why it matters. Sometimes, she says, “It is only a WORD that makes a big difference in whether it is a good idea kind of initiative or a not so good idea kind.” She handed me the copy of her ballot adding, “I’m extremely moderate.”
So tonight, I pull out the pile of ballots, fliers, pamphlets, articles, the friend’s ballot, log onto a couple of websites I think may be less biased and more informative, and I’ll make my decisions. Then I will mark my ballot pamphlet. I’ll review it. Then I will mark the numbers on that ballot without the benefit of the ballot box and the little puncher thing that marks it with ink right next to the person or initiative “YES” or “NO.” Finally, I’ll place my ballot into its envelope, stamp and mail it.
I’ll save my “I voted” sticker for next Tuesday, November 8th. And I’ll proudly put it on before I head out to work in the morning. Thankful for the opportunity to participate in our democracy.