Today Is Why You Should Never Vote Early
Quick question: are you one of the 15 million or so people who cast their vote for President already? You know, two weeks or more BEFORE election day?
If you are, how foolish did you feel when you woke up this morning?
I’m asking because I’ve never understood what motivates people to vote weeks before Election Day. In fact, I’ve never really understood the needless, mindless drive among our public officials to keep “expanding” early voting. Other than the most die-hard partisan, who’s going to vote for straight party ticket, you have absolutely no business saying you’ve heard all you need to hear and learned all you need to learn a month or so before your vote is actually counted. And you k now what? If you’re that die-hard of a partisan, you shouldn’t be voting. Yes, I said it: if you’re so partisan that issues, candidates and positions don’t matter, YOU SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO VOTE. You’re the biggest reason the country is in the mess it’s in. But more on that later.
If there’s one thing recent history has shown us, it’s utter foolishness to pretend nothing new happens at this stage. Four years ago, two major events impacted the race over the last two weeks. First came the tape of Mitt Romney decrying the “47 percent.” A few days after that came Superstorm Sandy and “The Hug.” Romney and Obama went from a flat-footed tie to the President winning reelection by a better than 5% margin in the popular vote. Now this year we have the sudden reemergence of “Email Gate,” but with the added twist of “Weiner Gate” for good measure. Overnight, the WaPo/ABC tracking poll shed 10 points off Clinton’s supposedly insurmountable lead. I mean literally, overnight.
So, now there are 15+ million ballots cast, without those voters knowing as much as they know now. How many of them want to change their votes? How many of them are slapping their foreheads and wishing they had waited a couple of weeks to mark their ballots?
Look, I understand showing up at the polls on election day is kind of a bother. Hardly anyone gets the day off. The lines can be long. The poll workers are usually clueless (just for fun, ask one how to vote for Evan McMullin and watch their expression go to sheer terror). When they have coffee, it’s as cold and dreary as the weather. In short, most of the time, voting on election day isn’t fun, easy or simple. But being in charge of something as important as the greatest nation to ever grace this humble planet isn’t ever easy or simple, and it’s rarely fun.
Voting is supposed to be serious business. It isn’t about fun, about wearing your colorful campaign buttons and outrageous hats and showing up to the polls in a big, happy group singing songs about your favored candidate. If you want to do those things, more power to you (personally, I’m a big fan of buttons). But you’re supposed to have studied the issues, contemplated the candidates, done a bit of introspection and decided which person running for which office best matches your personal views on the issues that are most important to you. After all, you are not deciding who would make the best pasta on the next episode of “Master Chef.” You are helping to decide the people who will be taking care of this republic of ours.
I get that everyone has the right to vote. Everyone also has the right to bear arms (regardless of what some of the more liberal among us think), but that doesn’t mean everyone should bear arms. If you can’t handle being a responsible weapons owner, you shouldn’t exercise that right until you figure it out. Voting is like that, only with 100 times more responsibility. After all, being an irresponsible gun owner might get a few people killed. Being an irresponsible voter might get the entire country killed.
We seem to innately understand the dangers of irresponsible gun ownership, by placing restrictions on who can and can’t own weapons. The wisdom that went into those regulations is a another topic for another day. But heaven forbid we discuss putting reasonable regulations (a familiar phrase, eh?) in place to limit the damage from irresponsible voting. You’ll be decried as an undemocratic racist out to deny people their rights! No, instead as a society we’re hell-bent on encouraging ever more irresponsible voters to cast their uninformed ballots, as early and easily as possible.
Of course, then everyone complains about how terrible government is and horrible the people are entrusted with governance. It seems nobody is happy that we get a Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the major party presidential nominees. Everyone complains about the clueless boobs that make up the majority of our congressmen and senators. Yet, still we insist that everyone, regardless of how uninformed and unserious they may be, get out and vote. And nobody draws the correlation between the boobs voting and the boobs being elected. Instead, we just keep making it easier and easier for the boobs to get out and vote for the boobs who wind up in office.
Sorry for ranting a bit, but I just find the whole situation ludicrous. Talk about beating our heads on a brick wall and expecting a different outcome! Except we’ve been at for 60 years now, and have run face first into that wall so often we’ve blinded ourselves to the sheer lunacy of it.