Vote Early, Vote Often

October 27, 2008 | 38 comments
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Just kidding about the “often” part. Are you an early voter or a procrastinator? Here’s why I voted early:

1. Smaller lines. Do you really need another reason? Seriously, you don’t. Don’t read any more.

2. Okay, you kept reading. How about this? The candidates start campaigning earlier every election cycle. If they get to do politics early, I should, too.

3. In the primary, I called the county, and they told me where to vote. They were wrong. I drove to two more voting places, waited in lines for hours, and finally found that I had been in the right place at the second place. All with two toddlers. It’s not going to happen that way again. Ever.

4. If you don’t know who you are voting for yet, you are not going to suddenly have an epiphany during the next week. Even though you have to figure it out, if you really haven’t decided.

5. The chance of something significant happening in the last week is practically nil—and, even if it does, it’s highly probable that it’s just an opposition smear campaign. You do the math.

6. The un-decideds have hogged the spotlight for the last two months. I think they are faking it. Early voting is my one chance at fame, and I’m going for it.

7. Me and the other early voters will mess up the exit polls. Since I majored in political science, I think that will be . . . exciting. You know, complicate things for the students!

8. I’ve already bought most of my Christmas presents. I’m weird. I know: there’s counseling.

9. It’s mainly elderly people who vote early. Those grandparents are really nice to my kids, not rude like the people in the primary. You’d be crying after two hours, too, people!

10. I love the touch screen voting. I just can’t wait to do it again. Early as I can. (Though I have to admit I kind of miss the drama of the hanging chad. Since the Florida fiasco, I always checked my chads. Just for fun.)

There is only one problem: My “I’ve voted!” sticker has already lost its stickiness. That’s the hazard of voting early. Shame. Embarrassment. Not having a sticker on voting day. Will one of you pick up an extra on November 4th?

Allow this to be voting group therapy. Let’s talk. My name is Kylie Turley, and I vote early. How about you?

38 Responses to Vote Early, Vote Often

  1. sister blah 2 on October 28, 2008 at 12:20 am

    11. Campaigns get updates from the registrar about who has already voted, so they don’t waste resources on you if you’ve already voted. In other words, no more robocalls and junk mail, yay!!

  2. Peter LLC on October 28, 2008 at 3:34 am

    It’s about time. I voted like a month ago. It allows me to follow the internet debates with amused detachment–nothing anyone says from here on out will swing my vote!

  3. Hunter on October 28, 2008 at 3:50 am

    Reason 12. For those of us who requested an absentee ballot in lieu of actually going to the early voting site, absentee ballot voting allows you time to do some easy (online) research on some of the lesser-known candidates. No more wild guesses! (Now they’re educated wild guesses.)

  4. Geoff B on October 28, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Agreed with Hunter. In Colorado, there are about 20 ballot issues that are extremely complex. Voting absentee allowed me to sit and consider everything and do some online research. It took me about two hours to fill out the entire ballot.

  5. Velska on October 28, 2008 at 7:47 am

    We have a form of early voting without need for excuses of why you can’t vote on the magic day. I’ve taken advantage of it ever since it was inaugurated in the 1980′s. I never figured out what the big deal was of voting on one specific day. Here they don’t even do exit polls, because it’s strictly illegal to ask anyone whom they voted for at the polling place or immediate vicinity (the vote is supposed to be confidential – there is no legal way for anyone to check your vote). The proscription is to avoid any pressuring of voters before or after the fact.

  6. ESO on October 28, 2008 at 8:29 am

    I love voting! The only early voting we have here (that I know of) is absentee ballots, which I have had to use many times when I was actually absentee and I find it distinctly unsatisfying. Here in NY, we use really old school machines, and there is nothing like pulling that lever. If only I could do that early, I would. I work in some polling places (schools), and the voting machines arrived yesterday, all locked up, but sitting in the lobby. Very exciting!

  7. Stephen M (Ethesis) on October 28, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Ah, but in communities where voting consists of donating money to the government, the “vote often” is important.

  8. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 9:31 am

    sister blah 2–now that is a fabulous idea. I would have voted last year in an effort to conserve/curb the campaign mail.

    Hunter, I remember the first time it occured to me to take my voter information pamphlet with me to vote. I felt like I was cheating on a test, which is silly since it was the most informed I’d ever been for all the issues (rather than the few campaigns that I knew well). We have 5 constitutional amendments (not big ones, but still) and a dozen judges to confirm or not–those ones are all difficult since you receive little or no information about them except what comes in the voter guide.

  9. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Stephen M–all I can say is that I donated a (small) bit of money to a political campaign this year, and I regret it. If I thought I had “voted often” with that money, maybe I would consider it well spent. But I’m sure that they spent more money requesting further donations and sending me fancy flyers than I ever gave them. So all my money was spent trying to get me to send more money. Not wise of them or me.

    Really, isn’t anyone going to argue that it’s patriotic or something to all vote on the same day? That I’m making the campaign season worse by dragging it forward?

    Velska, how does it pressure someone after the fact? Is the idea that we’ll change our votes if we have to actually explain how we voted?

  10. ESO on October 28, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Kylie–on the contrary, I think having a single less than 24-hour period of voting actually knocks some people out of voting. I would be happy to extend the period. I like the early voting option for that reason.

    And Velska was referring, I am sure, to the secret ballot which is very comfortable for many people.

  11. CS Eric on October 28, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I already have a pretty good idea of who I am voting for–and against. My problem is that, as a Colorado resident, I am still tryng to sort out all the other ballot issues. My wife keeps telling me to read them and figure them out so I can tell her how to vote.

  12. Geoff B on October 28, 2008 at 10:49 am

    CS Eric, a suggestion: do a Google search on each Amendment. There is a lot of good stuff out there. When I got my absentee ballot in CO, I didn’t know how I would vote on 80 percent of the amendments. I spent about 10-15 minutes on each amendment googling around and came up with really, really good info.

  13. Kylie on October 28, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Does CO have a voter education guide like UT does? The state prepares it and it comes in the mail to registered voters. We have the complete text of each amendment, “unbiased” analysis, and pro/con arguments as well. Very handy. The guide also lists all the judges we are confirming and the ratings given them by attorneys. Once again, very helpful–especially for those of us law abiding citizens who only find ourselves in court for jury duty.

  14. Peter LLC on October 28, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Velska, how does it pressure someone after the fact? Is the idea that we’ll change our votes if we have to actually explain how we voted?

    It’s not that it would pressure Velska after the fact, but for those who have not yet voted, exit polls could influence them.

  15. Kevin Barney on October 28, 2008 at 11:20 am

    This is very timely, because I’ve been pondering whether to vote early. Illinois just instituted a no-excuse-necessary policy on early voting, but it has to be done by the 30th. I found a polling place convenient for me, but it means I’ll need to leave work early to make it before they close, The more I think about it, the more I think it would be a good thing to do. I’ve known for a long time who I was going to vote for, so why not get it out of the way?

  16. James on October 28, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Okay, I’ll speak against early voting.

    1. Early voting just extends the window for the democrat political machine to stuff the ballot box. This will be the most compromised political election in U.S. history thanks to the efforts of the surrogates of the democratic party such as ACORN. What we are getting is a schooling in how politics has been in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois for most of the last century, dirty as can be and centered around the Cook County democratic machine which is now controlling the DNC.

    2. Voting, like any other civic duty, should require some sacrifice. We know that people place more value on accomplishments that require some sacrifice on their part. An election day that requires a little sacrifice for participants ensures that those who do vote are more committed to representative democracy.

    3. The Book of Mormon tells us that the voice of the people can choose evil. Early voting encourages convenience voters who are not as committed to freedom and may be more likely to fall under the sway of a smooth talker. Voting away liberty happened to the Nephites, it can happen now.

  17. Peter LLC on October 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    But James, if these easily-influenced, not-committed-to-freedom voters vote early, wouldn’t that decrease their exposure to the democrat ballot-stuffing machine and consequently the chance that they would be persuaded by smooth-talkers to take the path of evil so strongly condemned in the Book of Mormon? Plus, as Kevin notes, there are enough hurdles to early voting that they should keep the sacrificial bar high enough to weed out the wishy-washy ones.

  18. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Why would early voting extend the window any more than absentee voting? Sheer quantity? I kind of agree with you on point #2. But suddenly I’m wondering why. Why the assumption that sacrifice is good/necessary? And, as Peter points out, if we agree that there should be sacrifice, early voting will still allow for it–just on a different day.

  19. CS Eric on October 28, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Geoff B,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Do you know whether there is a voter’s guide like Kylie mentions?

  20. Rameumptom on October 28, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I actually enjoy standing in line and voting with everyone on that day. It doesn’t seem real if I do it early.

    Besides, I’ve considered voting for a person, only to see them do very strange things at the last moment on the campaign trail. If you voted early, you may have missed considering the red flag moment.

    In this case, it could be either Sarah Palin or Joe Biden’s stupid comments. Take your pick.

  21. Adam Greenwood on October 28, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Voting is pointless apart from the ritual aspect of it, so I always vote on election day, in person.

  22. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Pointless, Adam? That might be taking it a bit far. I agree that my vote for president is nearly inconsequential, coming as I do from the reddest state in the union. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say the ritual aspect is all that matters, especially on a smaller, local level. A few dozen votes can make the difference. National politics are fun to debate about, but your local city council member, school board member, or even state legislator is influencing your life more than you know.

  23. Adam Greenwood on October 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    When it comes to local politics, I agree. But I always also vote in national elections, where, absent the ritual aspects, voting is pointless.

  24. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I hear what you’re saying, Rameuptom, but I’m thinking that there have been plenty of stupid comments all along the way. Maybe there will be a big red flag tomorrow, but I just don’t think so. It seems to me that there has been plenty of stupidity thus far and there will be plenty more to come–I doubt another remark is really going to change things up.

  25. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    We probably agree, then. Enjoy your ritual!

  26. Researcher on October 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Voting may be pointless where you live, Adam. I live in a swing state. Actually in a swing district where elections may be decided by a few votes.

    Just one week out from the election, I still haven’t made up my mind. No reason for me to vote early in this election.

    The children usually have the day off from school and I always enjoy taking them with me to see the whole “ritual aspect of it.” They don’t have the day off this year which is too bad, since it’s the presidential election.

  27. Justin on October 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    A link to the Colorado Blue Book is here.

  28. Justin on October 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Sorry, here is the link..

  29. Justin on October 28, 2008 at 2:40 pm
  30. CS Eric on October 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks, Justin. Third time was the charm!

  31. Adam Greenwood on October 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I live in a swing state too.

  32. Researcher on October 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Why is voting pointless if you live in a swing state?

    For that matter, why is it pointless if you don’t?

  33. Karl Kategianes on October 28, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Colorado has an excellent voter guide, referenced above. It was our Family Home Evening last night, to go through the book and debate the issues and make our choices.
    Absentee/Mail In is the way to go. Stood in line 3 hours to vote last time, never again…

  34. Kylie Turley on October 28, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Good FHE. Do you have children? ages? I’m sure I could interest my oldest (13) in a short discussion of the issues, but they would all fade for the 5 constitutional amendments . . .

  35. John on October 28, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    In georgia they had 12 hour lines for early voting on Monday. Kind shoots holes in reason number 1.

    I vote absentee that works best for me.

  36. Velska on October 29, 2008 at 7:23 am

    “Velska, how does it pressure someone after the fact?”

    It’s just that asking someone at the polling place opens, in principle, an opportunity to punish someone for their vote (of course, if the ballot really is secret, you could lie). And this is a big deal in new and fragile democracies (not that ours is, but the idea is in the constitution and isn’t likely to be amended out).

    Of course, in Zimbabwe when a district went against Mugabe, they punished the whole district, because they didn’t know exactly whom to punish. And in some cases local administrations in the US have overlooked districts, that went strongly for the “wrong” party, when making improvements. So there are all kinds of ways to punish those who vote wrong.

  37. Kylie Turley on October 29, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Got it. I guess we get a little naive in our secure democratic republic. Thanks, Velska.

  38. Samuel on October 30, 2008 at 12:59 am

    No need to vote early if you\’re a Republican since they will loose anyway and your vote is just a waste of time.

    Only vote early, or vote at all, if it will be an Obama vote!