Let’s consider Early Voting.
- People who have travel plans, who have to arrange transportation days in advance, who work irregular shifts, or fear getting sick and missing “regular” voting day have no worries.
- People who simply can’t bear to wait in line for anything but carryout avoid the potential of some waiting.
- People who can’t remember when Election Day is have several opportunities to get it right.
- People who have never been to the southeastern part of the County may use their GPS to locate the Ridgely Run Center to avoid lines at Miller and Bain.
- Many people put a premium on being first—first in line, or at least first hour, first day…..without actually PREPARING to vote. I suspect many people these days devote more time to studying the features of a soon-to-be-released smart phone than they do studying the qualifications and positions of candidates who will be making decisions that will affect their quality of life for years. There are people who don’t even feel the need to compare the newest smart phone’s features and value before purchase, instead continuing their thought-free allegiance to a particular brand. Unfortunately, many who demonstrate this type of thought (free) process, in other words have decided to let Apple dictate their choice in phones, have also given over the ‘task’ of selecting highly qualified candidates whose philosophies match their own to a political party. If you reflexively and lazily vote according to which letter follows the candidate’s name (REGARDLESS of past crimes, being officially diagnosed as a pathological liar, or running naked in the public square) then YOU should do us all a favor and maybe not vote just to get your sticker.
- Early voting creates an extra burden on candidates. They feel compelled to attempt to find sufficient volunteers to staff ‘greeting voters’ 10 hours a day for 8 days at four early voting locations—-in addition to many or ALL precincts on regular Election Day. This constitutes a small army of cold, wet, and wind-blown patriots. For those candidates with more money than friends, it often produces paid, ill informed, and aggressive greeters bused in from other jurisdictions.
- Staffing by the Board of Elections for those 8 extra days at 4 locations is costly.
- The early voting turn-out figures can create a false impression of how the voting is actually going.
- A lot can happen during the 17 days between the start of Early Voting and regular Election Day. A lot can be revealed during that period. Some of those happenings or revelations might cause a voter to wish they had waited and could change their vote. But isn’t that precisely one motivation for the creation of Early Voting? Isn’t the idea to “lock down those votes” before something happens or is revealed?
- I’m particularly disturbed by two such ‘happenings’ involving candidates which have had minimal or no ‘revelation’. Without press coverage—the objective and factual kind—voters are left unaware of situations which could color their choice.
- First, there is the revelation about Democrat State’s Attorney Candidate Rich Gibson. https://www.propublica.org/article/a-dubious-arrest-compromised-prosecutor-tainted-plea-how-one-murder-case-exposes-a-broken-system .
- Then there are revelations about incumbent Democrat Register of Wills candidate Byron McFarlane. I’ve only located information on Facebook and blog posts, but the information has been confirmed by Sheriff McMahon that a September 30 security breech at the County Courthouse was the result of Mr. McFarlane giving his keycard to a film crew of 20 for use after hours. Information on the security breech, dui charges, and audit issues may be gleaned from https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211046172513452/ or https://hocomd.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/howard-county-courthouse-security-breach/ or https://hocomd.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/byron-macfarlane-should-resign-and-concede-the-election/ or https://hocomd.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/another-voice-speaks-out-about-the-howard-county-courthouse-security-breach/ since there has been no coverage in the Howard County Times.
I again suggest voters take the time to acquaint themselves with the candidates. There are numerous resources on-line including videos of candidate forums and candidate interviews. (Including the final Council Candidate forum with a focus on U.S. 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQmSsila7lI
For those who prefer print, you can pick up copies of the League of Women Voters’ Guide at libraries and senior centers throughout the county. Don’t rely on political commercials or mailers without carefully checking WHO is actually sponsoring that commercial or mailer. Learn to question scathing attacks.
Vote INFORMED—and meet me on the highroad,