I voted this morning. I did it the old fashioned way, by going to our local school, signing-in at the polling place, and filling out the ballot. There’s an “I voted” sticker on my T-shirt, which I’ll keep on all day.
I like seeing friends and neighbors, I like being seen and doing what religious folk sometimes call “witnessing”—publicly demonstrating my belief in the obligation to fulfill one of the primary responsibilities of citizenship.
I like getting up early enough to have a cup of coffee before going to the polling place, and I like chatting with neighbors afterwards as we go about our day’s business.
Absentee voting is fine for those whose disabilities make it difficult to get to the polls, but I think voting by mail is a curse. Voting should be a public ceremony. Voting by mail somehow reduces the act of voting to an act not unlike mailing in a rebate coupon; something impersonal, something to get done with so we can move on to other (more important) stuff.
Going to the polls is a healing act. No matter how rancorous or bitter the debates have been leading up to the election, once the voting is done people chat and smile and wait for the outcome to be announced. There is a coming together that you never see after you vote by mail.
I like the old fashioned way. I’ll feel cheated if I ever have to give it up.