For those of us too poor to purchase a president or even a congressperson to do our bidding, election day is the only chance we have for our voices to be heard about what we believe is important to our democracy, to our nation.
To me, the act we perform today, marking a ballot, is sacred. It is the guiding principle of our country, the bedrock of our society.
And it is bred in our bones that however much we may disagree with the majority that wins an election and however slim that majority may be, when the votes are counted we accept the outcome and move on. But these days, Republicans make that an uncertain proposition.
Not enough has been made this year about the attempts throughout the land to limit voting rights. On Sunday, The New York Times wrote of the threats to a fair election today:
”...many Republicans are assembling teams to intimidate voters at polling places, to demand photo ID where none is required, and to cast doubt on voting machines or counting systems whose results do not go their way.”
As I write this in the early afternoon on Monday, it is being reported that wait times for early voting in Florida are up to eight hours long. The Times again:
”...even after long lines formed last week at early-voting stations in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott refused to extend the period an extra day. In Ohio, a judge had to restore early-voting days that Republicans had tried to cut.”
And this too from The Times:
”One of the saddest signs of the politicization of the voting process and the counting of ballots has been the armies of lawyers assembled by both parties in the swing states where the vote is likely to be the closest.
“Much of this would be unnecessary if not for the requirements that Republicans have tried to put in place, which force Democrats to make sure that provisional ballots are not thrown out or mishandled.”
In every place where attempts have been made – are still being made – to jigger with the election, it is Republicans who are doing it, not Democrats. That should tell you something important.
The first presidential election I cared about was Eisenhower/Stevenson in 1952. I was a kid, 11 years old, and had to beg my parents to allow me to stay up past my bedtime to listen (only radio back then) to the returns.
No one, in those days, had to wonder if the presidential election results were fair and square (although local races could be dubious).
Today, as in 1952, I've got my pad and pen at hand to take notes. I'm ready with my list of individual state contests I'm interested in, ballot initiatives I care about and a map to mark as states – and, therefore, electoral votes – are announced.
So much is riding on the winner this year and I'm hoping with all my heart and soul that there will be no reason to question the outcome.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Another Time