early vote

This is the first presidential election year that New York State has had extensive in-person early voting. Because B, T, and I were planning to be out of the country on election day, we decided we would avail ourselves of that opportunity rather than voting absentee by mail, an option that was expanded this year to include fear of illness to protect people from exposure to coronavirus.

Across the country, there were long lines for early voting but no one knew how New York voters would respond. There was also no historic basis from which to plan. The first day of early voting was Saturday, October 24. We reasoned rightly the first weekend would be busy, so we planned to vote on Monday afternoon.

It was still very busy. It took us two and a half hours to vote, most of which was spent standing in a social distanced and masked outdoor line. Just as we were near the door into the library polling place, the line stalled. It turned out that one of the two ballot printing machines had stopped working, so the final check-in took longer, but all the election workers, volunteers, and people in line were very patient and respectful.

Because the lines were long, the county board of elections added more early voting hours so that wait times would be shorter.

I was glad to see so many here and across the country making themselves heard through their votes. The US has historically had low voter turnout and I’m hoping that the energy around voting this year will mark a new era of greater civic participation.

Our votes and voices are important. We all need to vote and make sure that our votes are counted. We also need to be patient while the counts are completed and certified.

It’s been a looooooong election season but it’s almost over. Stay strong, everyone!

What I am voting for

This election cycle in the United States has often focused on what people are voting against but I want to focus this last post before the election on what I am voting for.

I am voting for:

  • candidates who want government to work to uphold the common good and to “promote the general welfare” as our Constitution states
  • candidates who have experience working together with others to accomplish goals
  • candidates who understand science, law, and history and who articulate their policy positions clearly
  • the most progressive candidates who have a chance of being elected, which in my state means voting on the Working Families party line
  • ground-breaking women candidates, including Hillary Clinton for president and Kim Myers for Congress
  • candidates who accept the climate science concensus and who will take action to protect the environment
  • candidates who are at least as smart as I am

My state does not have early voting or voting by mail except in very limited circumstances, so I will be going to the neighborhood volunteer fire station to vote on Tuesday. I am very confident in the integrity of our voting process, with experienced poll workers from our town ensuring that only eligible voters cast ballots, in our case, paper ballots read by optical scanners.

I hope that all registered voters will vote in this election and accept the results. Most importantly, I hope that all people will come together in support of a government that works to pass and implement laws and budgets that respect and support human dignity and community.

Our Constitution begins with “We the people.” As a democracy, we are pledged to each other and called to cooperate with each other, regardless of our individual differences, “to form a more perfect union.” ┬áHyperindividualism, greed, prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry are destructive to our country.

The United States has a lot of healing to do. We had best start now.

[I am writing this at an (obnoxiously) early hour on Monday before launching into what is likely to be an intensely busy next few weeks with a lot of important transitions and events happening simultaneously. I considered disabling comments because I am not sure of being able to respond in a timely way. I decided to allow comments, but reserve the right to close or delete comments if they get out of hand.]