It feels good to participate in the democratic process. I have done my civic duty, I have cast my ballot, I have exercised my right (a right that wasn't always available to women I might add) - voting IS a big deal. Regardless of who you vote for, we should all vote.
Between 1960-2008 only 50.1% - 63.1% of the voting age population turned out for presidential elections. The 63.1% happened in 1960, 2008 only brought out 56.8%. For elections held on off presidential years (every 2 instead of 4) turnout has been less than 50%. That is criminal! See source here. Go Vote!
Did your medical significant other get to vote?
My husband tried to vote before his shift today, but he started work before the polls opened at 7 am. There is always a chance that he could be at the hospital after the polls close at 7 pm. He is hoping to sneak away between cases to do it. This is where planning ahead would have been wise. We live in a state with early voting. Could have done that. Absentee voting wasn't an option because we only received our voter registration cards a few weeks ago. We just moved here and dragged our feet getting our driver's licenses. And there is something to voting on the day that the elections are held. It's exciting! We both like casting our ballots on election day.
Voting does require some advanced planning. And we should have planned better just in case. I looks like he will be able to get away soon, but somewhere there is a doctor who thought he would get to vote today but won't. I wonder if anyone has a poll for that?
Before he left he asked if we were going to watch the election coverage all night? YES, of course we are. It only happens every 4 years! And every year is important. This is about the last thing he wants to watch tonight.
Do you know your local politics?
While I am pleased that I have done my part, I am also reminded that I have failed. Looking at the ballot today I realized I only knew about 3 or 4 of the elect-able positions out of probably 20-25. I knew the big ones, but not the smaller local ones.
I have used the excuse that because we are most likely only residing in this state for another 8 months that it doesn't really matter. But it does. There is someone in another state that may share the same view of the world that I do that could be moving here when I leave. They could be affected by my vote or my lack of vote.
The truth is I haven't really been interested in local politics in my last state either and we were there for 6 years! Shame on me. I used the same excuse that because this wasn't our permanent location I didn't care what happened in the school board, my kids wouldn't be going to school there.
Politics really is local. These are the races we should be focusing on. These are the elected positions that will have impact in our schools, our communities, our towns. Just because they don't impact you today doesn't mean that they won't one day.
The national election certainly gets most of the publicity and it takes much more effort to find information on our local elected leaders, but it can be done. It's not that hard.
My resolve for this next election cycle is to pay attention to my local races and local politics. It would be nice to at least know the candidates names and positions before I go to the polling place. And then I can regurgitate it for my husband, because let's face it, he will never have enough time to study all the candidates positions at every level.