Almost blew that one off by accident: the ballot came in a week ago and landed on the dining room table, where of course (of course, a horse…) I would attend to it promptly. Right?
Shortly, it began to sink beneath the tide of paper that flows steadily into the Funny Farm. Occasionally I would see it bobbing around and think gotta do that! there’s a deadline…gotta get there by the 28th…what year is this, anyway? So today the first order of business was to fish it out of the mound, fill it out, and send it off.
This required…well…yeah: work. That would be why I’d been putting it off.
Quite a few folks are running for office, most of whom I’d never heard of. So that meant looking up all the Democrats, studying their own statements and the published gossip about them, and trying to decide who would be a good choice for their respective coveted office.
And “good choice” is a little different from what it has been in the past. This year, instead of voting for whatever ideologue whose utterances happen to best match my own thinking, I decided that my vote should go to Dems whose stand is moderate enough that they might attract votes from moderate Republicans. I do know a lot of what I would once have regarded as “normal” Republicans are pretty disgusted with the sideshow in DC. On the other hand, I also know what issues and political stands have been most annoying to my Republican friends. Truth to tell, there are some candidates in the race that those folks are just not going to vote for, no matter how wacksh!t Washington gets.
So the job was to find candidates who are progressive enough to bring us back to the 21st century but not off the freaking deep end. And…that is quite the little job.
One guy lives here in the ‘hood — only Dem running for the office he covets, so that was a piece of cake. In a couple races, you could vote for two and there were only two Democrats. And in one, three Dems were running for two openings on a gummint agency. Ouch!
So there’s the theory: Republicans who are really disgusted with the horror show brought to us by a Republican Party bought and paid for by extreme right-wing billionaires are most likely to vote for moderate Democrats; therefore, the way to get Dems into office is to vote for the moderates that fleeing Republicans may vote for.
The absentee ballot — now called an “early ballot” — is a great convenience. For one thing, if you have a job it means you can vote without missing work. And you don’t have to be in town on voting day. Better yet, they’re on paper, so they can’t be hacked by bad actors armed with computer code.
First discovered you could get the County to send these to you — even if you’re not out of town for an election, even if you’re not too disabled to make it to a polling place — about 10 or 12 years ago.
I hadn’t been in this house for very long when the County kindly decided to close most of the polling places serving the ‘Hood, which were in churches or schools, and make us all go to a single voting place north of GangBanger’s Way. This building in a very bad area dominated by a dangerous meth gang. It truly isn’t safe. Period. About two or three weeks before the election in which I discovered this state of affairs, some little kids had been shot while playing outside their apartment building — just a few blocks from the concrete bunker that was the designated new polling place. They were caught in the crossfire between dueling thugs.
Even before that, it wasn’t a place where you’d choose to throw a garden party. It was (and is) a district where you locked you car to drive through. I would not get out of my car in the area, not on a bet!
Come election day, when I got up there and saw where it was — and that no one was around, to speak of…no line of voters snaking out the door and down the block, as per usual — I didn’t. Get out of the car, that is.
I was so mad I complained to some elected representative. Don’t remember who it was, but whoever it was did get an earful.
This person suggested that I ask for an absentee ballot, which could be sent to me and returned in the mail. With one request, they’ll send you “early” ballots for every election — city, county, state and national.
Awesome! Since then, I haven’t missed a single vote. Nor have I had to waste my time or risk my life for the privilege of casting a ballot.
Obviously, these things are ripe for abuse. What easier way to disqualify voters and disallow choices you don’t like, eh? Well…you can ride herd on the b**tards: they now have an online site where you can check to see if your ballot was received and that it was counted. And you can raise a little Hell if you find it went astray.
The Republican Ascendancy here in Arizona has disallowed a lot of choice by gerrymandering districts. But really…I suspect that even in this backward state — and it is hilariously backward in more ways than one can count — so many people who would not have voted without the spectacle in Washington will come out of the woodwork that quite a few established politicos will find themselves looking for new jobs. Maybe they’ll ride out a blue wave of moderation.
One can only hope…