Thursday, October 16, 2008

why I am voting in person rather than absentee

For one, there's no excuse--the polling place is across the street from me. This is a marked difference than my time in Orange County, where for my first election (2000, sigh) it was in some church in some part of town I was unfamiliar with and I had to drive for a while to find it. And then, when I went to law school, I voted by absentee, still staying registered in my home district so that I could vote on local ballot measures. With the most recent move (nine months ago, in fact), I re-registered, because for once this feels semi-permanent for at least a few years, and because I'm afraid my dad will try to vote for me.

Nah, I don't worry about that. Do I? He's always been good about that, even though he knows I vehemently disagree with his racist Republicanism and bizarre love for Bush and all Republicans who oppose communism. As far as he's concerned, he fled Vietnam with a family of six by plane and boat and now has a Commie daughter. He's always let me have my own mind, if not speak it, because then I'm being uppity. So, erm, yes, despite this delightful father-daughter dynamic, I decided to postpone visiting my parents until after the election, and I took the precaution for this particular election of re-registering. Sigh. I have been reading about this city's school board candidates and local ballot measures and have no clue. The price you pay for civic independence. Plus, the last time I asked my sister to forward me my absentee ballot, she didn't send it in time. I shall not be disenfranchised!

Anyway, plenty of reasons for me to vote in my new city, but in person? Mostly, it's symbolic. There's something about the civic community aspect of going to your neighborhood polling place, and I've been missing it for a few years. I want to walk around with that "I Voted" sticker, rather than takping my absentee ballot stub to my shirt or something. I want to meet my neighbors, at least the ones who don't live in my building and wonder why I'm always baking or listening to Tevyn Campbell. I want to see my neighborhood out and about in full civic mode, exercising our constitutional rights and believing, however naively, in the system.