Election Day is November 6, but I’ve already cast my ballot. You see, for the past decade, I’ve been an absentee voter. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t vote — I just do it by mail-in ballot. It started when Big Brother was an infant. I strapped him into the stroller and pushed him the three blocks to the local fire station, then trying to navigate the stroller (and sleeping baby) through the noisy garage and into a tiny voting booth. And my husband had a half-hour commute to the office and back, making doing his civic duty an added chore at the end of a long workday. So he suggested that we become permanent absentee voters.
Oh, I resisted it. You see, I love going to the neighborhood church, school, or veteran’s hall, feeling the weight of the cardboard ballot in my hands, and stepping behind the curtain to do my business. Maybe it’s the Good Little Girl in me, but wearing that red, white and blue “I Voted” sticker makes me feel like an upstanding citizen. But with two little kids, you never know when someone’s going to get sick, take a unexpected nap, or just be a general stinker — making it so easy to just skip going to the polls. So I caved in, and became an absentee voter. “I’m going to change go back to voting in person once the kids get older,” I vowed. But still, I haven’t.
A few times, I’ve waited to hear the last minute scuttlebutt, and walked my ballot into the local polling place. Part of me also just wanted to see the folks standing in line, breathe in the musty hymnals, and watch the election volunteer check my name off the clipboard.
But it doesn’t really matter. While I may go back to voting in person, I stick with the convenience of mail-in voting for the time being. In Santa Clara County, California, the registrar’s office has a website where you can even check online to find out if your ballot has been received and counted. Yes and yes.
What matters is that I voice my opinion, in whatever manner best suits me and my family. I went out and bought my own American flag pin and wear it on election day. This year, I’ll be sporting one of these “Vote” buttons from 18 Million Rising.
So make sure you exercise your right.
Here are some resources you may find helpful:
And if you or your relatives run into problems at the polls, be it needing language assistance or if you feel like you are prevented from fairly casting your ballot, call 1-888-API-VOTE.