I’ve been voting since the Kerry/Bush days, which means I’ve voted in the past three elections, plus one special election as well as this year’s contest. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound quite as impressive as I might have liked. . . . The point is, I take voting seriously.
By the time I reached voting age, mail-in ballots had become standard practice. Over the last six years, I’ve grown accustomed to tracking down another registered MN voter to glance over my blank ballot and then sign the ballot’s envelope before mailing it off to the courthouse after I've voted. While I spend a fair amount pondering who to vote for, the actual voting has always been a pretty painless, no-brainer process.
So on Thursday evening, I decided the time had come to cast my vote. I’d heard enough of the 20+ debates with the three gubernatorial candidates to feel I'd reached an informed decision. I went to my desk to grab my ballot and black ink pen and I couldn’t find my ballot.
Frantic searching ensues.
Two phone calls to various parental units later and I still hadn’t unearthed the ballot. Andy had gotten in on the search and he couldn’t find it either. Then the tears started.
They say not to cry over spilt milk, but they didn’t mention anything about lost ballots. Normally, I probably wouldn’t cry over a lost ballot. But the missing ballot was the culmination of a frustrating week spent running around, laboring over tasks in a 53 F degree stone building and losing plenty of other things beside the ballot. On Thursday night, the missing ballot was the last straw. The last thing I needed was to have to drive 55 miles into town on Tuesday to vote just because I’d lost my ballot.
Things often look better in the morning and on Friday morning I discovered my ballot hiding in the depths of my computer bag. I grabbed my black pen and filled in all the appropriate bubbles. Andy signed the envelope and my ballot went off with the mail.
Now, was that really worth crying about?
I’m inclined to think it was. While it’s great to live in a country where we can decide whether or not we’re going vote, I do feel that choosing not to vote is not a real great decision. Voting is an integral part of being a citizen of the United States. And after an election season as zoo-ey as this one has been, I felt it was important to cast my vote and do my part in “getting it over with.”
Do I care who you vote for this election season? Of course I do. But the choice that is most important every election is not the choice you’ll mark on the ballot, but the choice you’ll make to mark the ballot. No matter how long your “to-do” list is today, make sure voting’s at the top of that list.