One of the topics during the six-hour Elderblogger PhoneCon on Tuesday was making our votes count. In some states, it is possible to vote an absentee ballot which is done manually, thereby creating a paper trail if a recount is necessary. It is a way to ensure that if the new electronic machines fail or are fiddled with, at least some votes are accounted for.
On PhoneCon, Naomi Dagen Bloom of A Little Red Hen suggested rather strongly that each of us on the telephone conference report Friday, today, with instructions for absentee voting in each of our states. But first…
Two years ago, preceding the 2004 presidential election, a group of eleven powerful women including former Colorado congresswoman Pat Shroeder, former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, columnist Ellen Goodman and anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, created the GrannyVoters. The goal, according to their website, was
“…to inform, inspire, and engage grandparents so that they vote for sustainable policies protecting the quality of their grandchildren's lives decades into the future and the stability of the America they will inhabit.”
It was a fine way to think about choosing which candidates to vote for but, apparently, all they ever did was send out one press release and pose for one photo on the Mall in Washington while sitting in rocking chairs. Cute, sort of. But they have been absent from this year’s campaign and their website has fallen into disuse.
But that does not make their original inspiration any less pertinent and even noble. So I urge you grandmothers – and grandfathers too – to think carefully, when you vote on 7 November, about the future you want for your grandchildren. Do you think any of your incumbents – Democratic or Republican – care about the next generations? Have they done anything while in office to ensure a better place for your grandchildren?
Elders vote in much larger numbers than any other age group. We can make those votes count even more by voting first, against those in Congress who can’t see beyond their next free vacation trip from a lobbyist (which is all of them) and second, for new candidates who will then be on notice that if they don’t work in the next two years with the common good in mind, we can vote them out too.
MAINE ABSENTEE VOTING
Maine appears to have one of the most progressive voting systems in the country. All balloting – absentee and direct on voting day – is done on paper. Ballots are then tallied by machine and the paper ballots are preserved for any possible recount needs.
Anyone may vote absentee up to and including election day, 7 November. An absentee ballot is available online [pdf] and may be mailed in as long as it arrives by 8PM on election day. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at City Hall in Portland (and in other cities) until 8PM on election day.
There are also allowances for delivery of absentee ballots by a second party representing a voter who cannot get to the polling place due to illness, mobility or other issues that prevent them from traveling.
Anyone who has information about absentee voting in your state, please write about it on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments below.