Don't come crying to me

UPDATED: noon, CST

Today is the day. Florida voters are flocking to the polls in record numbers (or so we’re told) to cast their ballots in the Presidential primary.

I had no less than four phone calls yesterday – Gov. Charlie Crist called, so did State Sen. Don Gaetz and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, and oh yeah, Mitt called too. I hated to tell them they were too late I cast my vote early, along with about 10,000 of my fellow Sunshine staters.

Florida is one of 30 states that have provisions for its residents to vote before the actual polling date. Two weeks prior to the primary and general elections, special precincts open for registered voters. I walked into the polling place around 11 a.m. one Saturday morning. I was one of two people there casting their vote. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.

Reports are that 1 million absentee ballots have already been cast, and estimates are for a 40 percent voter turnout for the primary – 40 percent.

I am amazed that only 40 percent is considered good voter turnout, and that’s registered voters. That doesn’t address the millions of people who are eligible to vote and aren’t even registered. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 32 million people who could be, but aren’t registered.

In the 2000, the difference in votes cast was only 543,816. I won’t even try to explain how these votes translated into electorial votes, I can’t unring that bell. But, it is not unreasonable to believe that if those 32 million unregistered, and percentage of registered, but not voting, had gone to the polls, the outcome of that election would have been vastly different.

I may not be what any one would call politically savvy, but I make a good faith effort to be informed and vote for a candidate I feel is best. Then I have a right to gripe about “why did I vote for that loser”, or gloat – “don’t blame me, I voted for the other guy.”

My 18-year-old daughter is so excited about voting in this election – her very first. She signed up early to receive her absentee ballot at college. I can remember the day I voted in my first presidential contest. I was just out of high school and Ronald Reagan was up against incumbent Jimmy Carter. I got to leave my job early just so I could vote.

It was a big deal. It’s a big deal now.

There is no reason why anyone of legal voting age is not registered to vote and not making tracks to the local polling precinct to cast a ballot. Especially with early voting, and absentee ballot options.

Listening very carefully, I’ll only say this once:

If you aren’t part of the process, you are part of the problem.

Update:

My kid calls me around noon today, all excited.

“Your daughter is officially an American citizen!’

She made her way to the Student Union today and voted for the very first time. She is going to save the “I Voted” sticker the poll worker gave her as a keepsake.

“I feel like a big kid now!”

I am so very proud… got all verklemped over here.

Read more at If Mom Says OK

Recent Posts by Tara R.

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