I voted last Friday, worried enough by the reports of long lines in certain parts of the country that I didn’t want to risk waiting for hours on Tuesday.
But I can’t help feeling a little unsettled.
I’ve never wanted to mail in a ballot, too afraid it would get lost. So I have to go to the polls for that reason, and also because I like the feel of it all: walking into a room full of (generally aged) volunteers, filling out a form, showing my ID, getting the ballot.
I prefer to do my voting on Election Day. It feels like an event, a ceremony, a ritual that way, as it should. Sometimes I even cry tears of joy over the privilege of voting.
This election cycle, though, showing up early provided an unexpected bonus: I ran into the county clerk and recorder, Russ Ragsdale. We recognized each other, even though it’s been several years since I was at a meeting he organized to explain how the Help America Vote Act was going to work in Broomfield. I very much doubt I would have been able to chat with him on Election Day.
The Colorado ballot had a ridiculous number of initiatives, and I voted yes on three that will put more money into the state government: the one to raise taxes to provide funds for the developmentally disabled (people like a couple of my relatives, though they don’t live in Colorado), the one to repeal a tax break for oil and gas companies, and the one to repeal part of TABOR and give more money to education (Colorado is 49th in the nation on education spending).
Then, for good measure, I voted no on almost all the others, including the labor initiatives their proponents had withdrawn. Just to make sure.
And finally, just to be a hypocrite, I voted to make it harder to get initiatives on the ballot to amend the state constitution.
I was telling my husband that people who want to get amendments on the ballot should be required to read the entire Colorado constitution first and pass a pop quiz.
(Of course, I voted for some of the amendments in the constitution now. Amendments my husband probably had the good sense to vote against because he didn’t want to clutter up Colorado’s founding document.)
One other weird thing about Colorado politics this year? Mike Coffman, the secretary of state, is running for Congress. So in theory he’s supervising his own election.
I’m not concerned about that because he’s a Republican. I just think it’s disturbing that the chief elections official of a state can run for office and supervise an election at the same time. I wish we could pass a law at the federal level to outlaw it—for a quicker result—but I suppose it’s something that must be done at the state level.
You can probably tell that state’s rights are not high on my list of priorities.
I’m not sure this post ever had a point it was driving toward. But Monday morning, I saw something that cheered me a bit: looking out my back door, I saw a vehicle driving down the street on the other side of our park. It had a big American flag on the front of the car and a small one attached to the back, as well as a sign on the side. I couldn’t read the sign, and knew it might be for McCain, but still I was cheered by it.
And then something I heard Monday afternoon saddened me: Barack Obama’s grandmother died, the day before the election.
I really wanted her to make it to Wednesday.
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