Today is election day. In my apartment building, there’s a polling place, which in 2008 had lines out the door and around the block.
This morning? I darted in, voted, and was back upstairs drinking coffee, all in about 10 minutes. That’s the upside of low voter turnout, I guess: no lines.
Caleb was upstairs waiting for me, wanting to know who I voted for. Yes, he was home. Because what makes it easier for grownups to vote? Why, having their children home from school. In Manhattan, public schools are used as polling places, so public schools are closed today.
Yeah, so okay, trying to juggle work and kids-at-home schedules with voting is not like facing down tanks in Tianamen Square, queuing for days under broiling sun in the Congo, or any number of other desperate-for-democracy situations.
But why can’t we make it easier to vote? Why not a national holiday, really? Many offices are closed on Veteran’s Day, too – is Veteran’s Day really more important than Election Day? I mean, didn’t the soldiers die in the name of democracy–which is to say, one person one vote?
And what about instituting a bribe–I mean, an incentive–for voter turnout? What if the state with the highest percentage of voter turnout per capita got, I don’t know, like a bridge or toll plaza or some other boondoggle-ish public works program? A casino or a new highway or a baseball stadium? Would that spark voter turnout? New York would be all about beating New Jersey; Michigan would want to beat Ohio… it would be like a sports rivalry but with an actual, you know, purpose.
I guess it’s illegal to pay people to vote – the first Mayor Daley in Chicago tried that, and it worked for a while, but then it got ugly. So we need to find a way to make people vote–get them up and out and into the polling places. We don’t have tanks and guns barricading our path to the polling places (although after the Tea Party sweeps this election, we might), so all we have to blame is inertia.
Now, I know about inertia–it’s the reason for my increasingly Buddha-like belly–but it seems to me that if the Repugs are all about “American values” and eagles and flags and shit like that, then maybe they would like to figure out how to make it easier for people to vote.
Oh. Wait. I forgot. The Repugs don’t want to make it easier for us all to vote. Because if we all voted? Then it would like 2008 again and the lines at the polling place would be around the block.
It’s the only time in my life I wouldn’t mind waiting in line.