So we have nearly 55 days until we know the results of the next US Presidential Election and that does seem like a good amount of time. It seems even longer if you are really following and participating in the reality (or absurdity) and aggressiveness of this particular election. But the real truth is, on some level, we are out of time. And this ‘out of time’ clock started ticking on September 9th.
We need this important time, these nearly two months to learn more about the candidates, hopefully see the details of Trump’s tax returns, live through as many debates as our blood pressure will allow and to really better understand the plans put forth, or not, from each candidate. And there will be additional DNC leaks and more news on family Trusts and Foundations as well as new investigations and the outcome of some potential lawsuits. These fact SHOULD really influence who we vote for and be part of the selection process for the best and most qualified candidate.
As everything about our elections in the U.S. is complicated and unique per state, the truth is that EARLY VOTING IN THE U.S. IS UNDERWAY! What, people can vote now and they don’t even know all the facts and details about their candidate? OK, we know that this is a two-horse race and our country is greatly divided but I am hoping (and praying at times) that the verdict is still out for many and that they will take a wait and see attitude and come out and vote for the better (not best as we never seem to have a best) candidate!
Here are some details on the Early Voting process in the U.S. and I’m going to start with the big number first.
- Roughly 45.6 million people or about 35% of the electorate voted prior to Election Day in 2012, and that number is expected to increase in this election.
- Advance voting began in the U.S. last Friday, September 9th in North Carolina. This is the first of 37 states that will allow balloting by mail for any reason or in person before the actual Election Day of November 8th. Nearly 35,000 voters had requested absentee ballots as of last week.
- I just hope that the rightful owners of these ballots cast them! The better news is that the split for absentee ballot request is about right down the line between Democrats and Republicans.
- North Carolina also allows early voting at the polling booths beginning October 20th.
- An important point is that these votes are not counted until election day but many states, including North Carolina report party affiliation of ballots submitted. Talk about influencing the process which can go either way. I just fear some guy standing at a podium screaming ‘The system is rigged’.
- For those in the armed services and voters living abroad, ballots are mailed the week of September 19th.
- On the same date, Georgia, Wisconsin and Virginia (2 of these battleground states) can send in their ballots.
- Iowa accepts early ballots as of September 29th but at least many will have the opportunity to watch the first presidential debate by this date.
In data compiled by The Associated Press, ‘Voters who cast ballots in advance are expected to make up between 50 to 75 percent or more of all ballots in the battlegrounds of North Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia.’ And this scares the sh*t out of me as this accounts for a lot of people not waiting for as much information as possible to make the best voting decision.
But this would assume voters in the U.S. are open to all the facts, are open-minded on all the issues (vs. only one, think Pro-Life), truly understand how much their vote counts (think Brexit) and are concerned about the long-term impact of a very bad decision.
The candidates certainly have a strategy that takes into account early voting and are campaigning in many of the above-mentioned states to encourage people to get out and vote. This is to be expected at this stage of the election process.
So I will end here with a little story about why politics is so important to me and always has been in my life. I am the daughter of an elected politician, my late-mother who won every election she ran for on the local city level (Go MOM!). And my father, who also had political aspirations when I was young.
As a very young girl, I was posing for family political photos that would eventually appear on a notepad and in a brochure, I went door-to-door with teams and passed out more bumper stickers than I can count, I ate countless pieces of pizza at the ‘Sick” election party office, I lived thought the highs and lows of the election process and opposing candidates who did underhanded things to get votes and so much more. My parents are both life-long registered Republicans and they raised five kids who all vote according to their beliefs with little influence from our parents. But we all care about what happens in our city/county/state/country and take voting seriously.
My hope is that you care about this country as well, regardless of how you grew up, where you go to church, how your parents are registered or how long you have been voting. Voter turnout is SAD in the U.S. and in 2016, we don’t just need every vote, we need educated and smart votes and EVERY VOTE COUNTS.#democracy
Mark your calendars for the debates!