Here are some thoughts on today’s election. With three elections’ experience at the polls—not a lot, but enough
1) If there is any question about your ability to get to the polls, get there ASAP. Because the number of satellite sites for early voting were reduced, a lot of people may have to scramble for transportation today. See if someone can give you a lift.
2) Make sure you know where your polling site is. If you do not, go to the Marion County Voter Information Portal—http://maps.indy.gov/VIP/ and follow the prompts. If you cannot figure out after that, call 327.8683 and someone at 327-VOTE should be able to answer your question.
3) In three elections (not as much as some people, but enough to gain some insight) I saw the general flow of voters. If your workday schedule is flexible, and you want to avoid crowds, between 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 4 p.m., again generally, are good. Those times miss the rush hours, plus they miss the lunch crowd.
4) Take government-issued photo I.D. with you. These are the four requirements for I.D.:
1) Must have your (that would seem obvious) photo.
2) Name corresponds to the name on your voter registration record. (If you do not use your middle initial, or your name is Robert but everyone calls you "Bob," etc., you are okay.)
3) The I.D. must have an expiration date and either is current or expired no earlier than the date of the last general election (November 2, 2010.)
4) The I.D. must have been issued either by the State of Indiana or the United States—i.e., government-issued. This means one may use and Indiana driver’s license, a passport, a military I.D., etc.
5) If you encounter any problems, call for a poll worker. An official poll worker will wear a badge or lanyard that identifies her or him by name and her or his official position. Problems one could encounter could include for some reason the machine will not take your ballot or
there are no pens at the booth. Call over a poll worker.
6) Do not let anyone try to deter you from exercising your right to vote. If someone attempts to stop you from entering your polling place, call for help. Yell if you have to yell.
7) You do not have to vote for a candidate for every office. If you do not know anything about the candidates for a particular office—or perhaps know too much—you may leave the spaces there blank and move on.
There has been a lot of commentary about this being the most important election in our lives. EVERY election is important.
Even if you believe the system is corrupt and you should not support it—vote. Here is how you can vote for "none of the above." Go to the polling site, ask for a ballot, and vote for no one. If the machine will not accept your ballot because your ballot is completely blank, choose the most obscure office, or choose an alternative-party candidate least likely to win, and fill in that blank. Your vote will register, and the tally for other offices will show you are one (perhaps of many) who chose "none of the above" for that race.
Karl Hess wrote speeches for right-wing politicians. (Remember Barry Goldwater’s "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue"? That was penned by Hess.) Later, Hess became an anarchist. He was proud to say: "Don’t vote, it only encourages them." He also liked a billboard, in 1976, in Champaign-Urbana that read: "VOTE (it won’t do any good but) VOTE anyway." The letters in the two "votes were huge, perhaps six or seven feet tall. The letters of the other words were per haps a foot tall. I understand Hess’s sentiments. But, from my perspective, we had an election in 2000 that resulted in huge debts and two wars. From someone else’s perspective we had an election in 2008 that resulted in what that person might view as adverse results. In 2000, 527 voters in Florida (and one justice on the United States Supreme Court) made the difference. (In 2008? Obama was swept into office. I had to point that out.) So vote.
My last-minute predictions: a lot of people tomorrow will be hung-over. Some of them will be hung-over from celebration, some from drowning of sorrows. But wait! In 2000, those people switched positions after a couple of days and a lot of litigation.
At least the ads will be over.