September 30, 2008, - 7:26 am

Another Common American Experience Down the Toilet: Is It Just Me . . .

By Debbie Schlussel
. . . Or am I right that there’s something wrong with the fact that people started voting in the Presidential election, a couple of weeks ago?
This was before the first Presidential debate, before Sarah Palin talked about seeing Russian Planes flying in the distance to Katie Couric, before much of anything. How on earth can they decide when they haven’t yet seen the whole picture?
Yes, I already know that, at this point, I will vote for the Centrist-Liberal Republican and his Ignoramusette Mom of Van Palin running mate. But I’m waiting until election day. You never know what could happen in 40 days. It’s unlikely there will be a cataclysmic change or set of events that will change most of our votes. But, again, ya never know. Why not wait to vote on election day with the rest of America?

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The fact that people are already allowed to cast ballots–and we’re not talking absentee ballots–is symptomatic of the fragmented American experience. And it’s not a good thing.
Whereas we once had a common American culture–a common language, a common national election day, common TV shows (“Who Shot J.R.?” would never be a national phenomenon, today, nor would the radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds”)–we’re now separated by so many choices and gazillion media outlets. That’s, on the one hand, a great thing. No single media source can control what we see and what news were getting. It’s great to have so many choices and options.
On the other hand, it’s now at the point where there are so many Americans who don’t share the same values and don’t know what it is to be an American, can’t even speak English, want to force their old world Mid-Eastern mores on us, for example.
That’s part of why I’m against charter schools. Do you really think kids attending Nation of Islam or Muslim Brotherhood-run charter schools will come out with a common set of American values that are similar to our own? Don’t bet on it.
And so it goes with people voting in the Presidential election a month and a half before it’s time. They won’t have the same experience or clearer picture those of us who vote on election day–the official election day–will. They’re getting a different picture.
And in a future generation, they’ll be part of several different Americas. We have to have some shared experiences as a nation and as a population.
It used to be that you could only vote absentee if you had a legitimate reason you could not be at the polls on election day, like being out of the vicinity or being sidelined by long-term illness or religious observance. But no longer:

In Louisville, Ky., 97 people showed up at the Jefferson County elections office last Thursday to vote for president. In Fairfax County, Va., 244 people voted on Friday, and voting begins in another 11 states and the District of Columbia this week, according to the Pew Center on the States’ electionline.org, which tracks ballot issues.
By the time Election Day arrives, more than half of the voters in some states will have cast early ballots, voting experts say. That will upend the way campaigns typically proceed, because many voters will be casting ballots before the debates. . . .
American Enterprise Institute scholar John Fortier says only about 5% of voters cast absentee ballots in 1980, when many jurisdictions required a voter to have a notarized excuse to get one. In a bid to make voting easier and increase voter turnout, about half the states now offer so-called no-excuse absentee voting, and 23 offer in-person early voting in elections offices and, in some cases, in grocery stores and Wal-Mart stores.
Mr. Fortier calculates that in a dozen states, more than 30% of voters cast ballots before Election Day in 2004, and in five of those, at least half the voters cast early ballots. Oregon has voted completely by mail-in ballot since 1998.
Early-voting turnout could be greatest in some swing states where Republican nominee John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are focusing much of their effort. In 2004, early voting accounted for 53% of ballots cast in Nevada, 47% in Colorado, 51% in New Mexico and 36% in Florida.
Research on early voting suggests it probably doesn’t benefit one candidate or the other. Early voters tend to be those who are most loyal to their party or candidate, and least likely to be swayed by developments in the campaign, says Mr. Fortier.
Making it easier to vote also doesn’t seem to have increased participation. “The same people who voted at polling places are voting at their kitchen tables,” he adds.
But early voting has the potential to alter the way campaigns operate, political analysts say. It takes away some of a candidate’s ability to unveil major initiatives late in the campaign, when voters typically are more attentive. . . .
In both Virginia and Kentucky, early voting actually is beginning late. In Louisville, voting was scheduled to begin Sept. 16, but Hurricane Ike knocked out electricity to the elections office. Virginia elections officials are still proofreading ballots in most jurisdictions. Otherwise, the entire state would be voting already.

What’s their hurry?
Is it so much to ask to wait another month or so to cast your vote?
Maybe in another few generations, they’ll be celebrating Independence Day on another date? Early elections aren’t a good prescription for America.
Time to clamp down on convenience absentee voting. America is not a 7-Eleven. Picking the day you vote shouldn’t be as easy as buying a Slurpee.
Voting at the polls on Election Day is a special experience, that every American should go through on the same day, while coming into contact with other Americans.
Voting is a privilege. It shouldn’t be difficult. But it shouldn’t be so easy and so commoditized that every dummy can vote from home while sniffing keyboard cleaner and watching “The Real World” Season 5,782.

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16 Responses

[But I'm waiting until election day. You never know what could happen in 40 days.]
So you could vote for Obama/Biden, right?

Norman Blitzer on September 29, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Actually, if a person isn’t a complete moron, they should already be certain of who the BETTER candidate is.
The election smearing going on by B.O. is only going to get worse and the longer a person waits the more chance they may have to waffle needlessly. I mean the goofs out there who read more National Enquirer than, say, your column. I just want the voting to be legit and the penalties for messing with the system (like acorn does) to be severe.

samurai on September 29, 2008 at 11:59 pm

It is only rational that democrats should encourage the voting to start earlier each election. That gives all the illegals, homeless, and dead people much more time to vote much more often.

geokstr on September 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

Voting advocates strive to bring homeless into the booths
To leave no one unregistered, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless partnered with the Cook County clerk’s office to train 57 homeless advocates to register the clients they serve.
“Everyone who comes in, we ask if they’re registered, and we always tell them to go register,” said Kim Wasserberg, an employee and volunteer with South Suburban Public Action to Deliver Shelter, which operates day programs and emergency overnight shelters. Wasserberg said PADS will do its big registration push on Oct. 1, when its emergency overnight shelters open for the season.
Cook County Clerk David Orr (Democrat) and his staff have the same attitude, spokeswoman Courtney Greve said. Orr “was one of the main advocates behind changing the legislation to allow homeless voters to use the address of a family, friend or shelter,” Greve said.
Different rules apply to homeless voters. Since they don’t have a permanent address, they can use a shelter’s address. And photo identification rules are more flexible.
Wasserberg said PADS guests often talk about politics, and they’re especially interested in this year’s election. “Many of the decisions that get made, they have a problem with,” she said. “And with the way of the economy, they’re even more worried.”
http://www.southtownstar.com/news/1190961,092908homelessvoters.article

dm60462 on September 30, 2008 at 12:09 am

how dare people try to participate in a democratic political process! its all a muslim terrorist plot!!

lolwut on September 30, 2008 at 1:33 am

No but the hezbo’s are rooting for BHO. This much we know and we know they would stop at nothing to get their way.

samurai on September 30, 2008 at 1:40 am

I think the World should have a common language as well!
An interesting video can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670
Otherwise http://www.lernu.net might help?

Brian Barker on September 30, 2008 at 9:09 am

The sole purpose of early voting is to give the Democrats time to game the system, and to give them multiple opportunities to game the system. The same with the explosion of absentee ballots.
Our Republic will be undone by election fraud putting socialists into power, as they will make sure to appoint judges just as crooked as themselves.

Smarty on September 30, 2008 at 10:29 am

I agree: the only day to vote should be on election day. One person/one vote. Paper ballot only. You must be able to “write” the name of your candidate. If you can’t write/spell, you shouldn’t be given the opportunity to vote. Voting is a privilege, that should not be taken lightly. The whole process has been bastardized by those seeking to destroy the American way of life.

you are right on September 30, 2008 at 10:31 am

I don’t completely agree re the charter schools. Back in the early & mid 20th century, I would have agreed that the schools performed a socialization mission, introducing newcomers into our culture. But since that time, too many of the schools have become anti-American, and disparaged our history, and, although there are exceptions, too many of the schools no longer try to socialize people into American culture. Just the opposite. So now I’m much more open to charter schools & home schooling than I used to be.

c f on September 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I think people are antsy and anxious to get things over and done with. This has been the longest campaign….didn’t they all start campaigning in January 2007, or maybe even before that.
There’s been a lot of time wasted on both sides. McCain lost a lot momentum with that ridiculous ‘Suspension’ of his campaign, and I’m not sure they made the most of September, with daily appearances and blanketing the States, and piling on Q&A….each and every day of September.
Obama completely blew off July with that ridiculous trip to Europe, the purpose of which…..I don’t even know what he was doing there. These people waste time.
I think the Conventions should be in July, the debates in August, and voting in September.
Get it over and done with already.

Maxine Weiss on September 30, 2008 at 1:37 pm

“Vote early and vote often” (but not for liberals)

Ron Taylor on September 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm

I have to disagree with you on this one Debbie. While I can’t understand why they would have in person voting this soon I am completely in favor of absentee ballots if you apply in advance. I have voted via absentee ballot for the last few years because most weeks I am traveling for work and am not even near my home much less my polling place.

cbielinski on September 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Yes, nobody should vote early unless they know that Presidential candidate John McCain wants us -the taxpayers – to surrender
$1,000,000,000,000.00 to bail out the banks.
According to John McCain in an AP news report today, the Treasury Department should ìintervene aggressively to limit damage from the financial meltdownî by going to the Exchange Stabilization Fund to ìpurchase up to a trillion dollars in mortgages.î
This, he claims, could be accomplished by President Bush with the mere ìstroke of a pen.î
Do NOT vote for McCain who is an elitist, an Establishment insider, and a despicable human being.

ramjordan on September 30, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Abuses at the ballot box are the easiest way to unjustly change the country for the worse. It can take many forms–e. g. same day voter registration (what is that?), disqualifying legitimate voters for some technicality, the “referees” tipping the scales (like is going on with many absentee ballots in Ohio this year) and so forth. Yes, it so important to allow homeless people to vote–undocumented and so forth. With 20M illegals here, why do we tolerate such insanity?
Who really believes that Kwame pimp daddy Kilpatrick won the last mayoral election in Detroit? There was plenty of evidence that the city clerk, also elected, was in the tank for him on this one. It doesn’t take that much to tip a close election.
Many people believe that JFK took Illinois–thus the presidency– in 1960 based on the dead coming back to life–yes to “vote early and vote often.” Chicago machine politics is legendary for such–hmmmm Obama’s organizing seed bed under the training of Bill Ayers and other radicals such as the wrong Reverend Wright.
When one bears in mind that Hitler came to power in Germany with less than 40% of the vote–the example of where it can all lead–bad people using their “election” by the “will of the people” to suspend the laws instituting tyranny–it is the anarchists favorite tool–ranking right up there with corrupt judges.
Anyway–I don’t mind the absentee voting so much–I just wish it was managed by honest people and I don’t have confidence that it is–too many examples to the contrary.
I don’t have any problem with charter schools–why should the public schools have a monopoly? The public school system has become a social engineering and indoctrination system for socialists–brain washing the kids daily on such things as “global citizenship, environmentalism, gay rights agenda, etc etc. ” It’s been getting worse for a long time and it isn’t going to stop. But, oh yes, let’s “invest” more in public education. Yeah, sure. It’s doing such a great job.

BB on October 1, 2008 at 7:03 am

Debie, I think the common American culture horse has already left the barn. And making everyone vote on one day would be bad for the Republicans who tend to be disinclined to line up for an hour and a half. The one day election would be good in that many Democrats are too incompetent, criminal or intoxicated to show up, but it wouldn’t be a bonding experience.

Anonymous1 on October 1, 2008 at 10:10 am

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