I Voted Early
By L. Stewart Marsden
I’ve just returned from voting early today. It’s a relatively short drive from Sugar Mountain to Newland, the county seat of Avery County. I got a sticker to put on my guitar case!
I arrived at the Avery County Courthouse close to 9 AM, and followed the Vote Here signs around the side and through a door to the Board of Elections office. It’s pretty small.
Since it was my first time voting, I was prepared with my voter registration card (one of the first things I did — online — when I moved) and my driver’s license (also changed address online), which weren’t required.
An official took my name and searched his computer voter data files to make sure my name was in the system, then printed out a form for me to sign and handed me a ballot.
Along one wall, crowded slightly closer than urinals in a men’s public bathroom, were voting tables with tall flap sides around each table to enable privacy.
The room was filled with election volunteers, all passing time talking. There was one other voter filling out his ballot, which was comprised of inking in ovals to indicate your choice. No computers here.
I voted early for two reasons.
First, I wanted to avoid the lines. Not sure if long voting lines actually exist in Avery County, but didn’t want to risk it.
Second, I know that the media is going to speculate on how voting is going based on voter exit polls. With the last “debate” concluded between only two POTUS candidates, the media will now turn its harried attention to those who have voted early. Guess who those early voters will likely be?
There were no representatives from the media polling anyone exiting from the Avery County voting station. Go figure. White, rural mountain community?
I figure, being an unaffiliated voter who is sick of the sos from both parties, that maybe — just MAYBE — polls might indicate a bump for Gary Johnson, or some other alternative to the Repubs and Demos. That the possibility of neither Trump nor Clinton acquiring the needed electoral votes could throw the choice to the House, who will have to consider the top THREE vote-getting candidates in their deliberations. Stranger Things.
Wherever and whenever I had a third choice on the ballot, I voted for that person.
You won’t like the way I chose to vote. I voted against current office holders. For Court of Appeals candidates, of which there are many, I figured the courts need to represent each ideology, and hop-scotched through the list, voting R and then D and so on. There were no third-party choices. Where a candidate was listed as unaffiliated, that’s who got my vote.
For those running unopposed, I was saddened by the fact no one stood up to challenge the status quo, and did not vote for those candidates. In those cases my vote really did not matter. “This must be how the ballots in China are,” I figured.
I realize most of you will find the way I chose to vote stupid, if not down-right heinous. I don’t care. I CHOSE my voting plan. No party, or government official, or military dictator told me how to vote. Hence, my votes are NOT wasted. If either Donald or Hillary is elected, it won’t be my fault. It will be the responsibility of those who voted for them.
Trump says the system is rigged. In the sense that the powerhouse politicians wield their way in the background unbeknownst to we the common people, it MIGHT have been. But Bernie, Gary, and a growing number of voters who register unaffiliated is — like global warming — changing the political climate ever so slowly but surely. Three major parties? Why not? Those that are out of touch with reality, like the Tea Party, won’t survive. Perhaps the Republicans are for whom the bell tolls. Democrats can’t be far behind. It won’t be this election year, in all probability — but maybe in the next, or the one after that. Sooner or later the vast majority of voters will wake up.
So, I challenge all my family and friends — who are of legal voting age — to vote. I already know of some who won’t. That’s a pity. When the dust settles in November, you won’t be able to complain.