I always vote. And I always vote on Election Day itself. I don’t like early voting, never have and never will. Too much can happen from the time I vote early until the actual election day that might change my mind. Remember the “Access Hollywood” tape? Or the time a dead man was elected to the U.S. Senate because he died right before the election and it was too late to take his name off the ballot?
I do understand that our election days are almost always on Tuesdays, which is a pretty dumb day to hold them. Tuesdays are working days for most Americans. Why don’t we hold elections on Saturday or Sunday? Or make Election Day a federal holiday every other year and dump Columbus Day, which has taken on a whole new meaning these days?
To be clear, I am not taking about absentee voting. That I understand. You know you will be away on voting day, so you request an absentee ballot to make sure you have a say in the election. But if you are going to be around town anyway, what’s the big rush? Why not wait until you’ve seen all 10,000 Ron DeSantis television commercials? He is on TV about every three minutes, isn’t he?
The only thing I understand less than those eager to get voting over with is the enormous number of Americans who don’t vote at all. In off-year elections like this one, the percentage of eligible voters who bother to vote usually hovers somewhere around 40 percent. Considering how hard-fought democracy is, this is pretty shameful. People who don’t think their vote makes a difference are simply wrong. If 538 more Floridians had voted for Al Gore in 2000, he would have been president instead of George W. Bush.
While I am on my soapbox, I suspect one reason for the lackluster turnout is that incumbents rarely lose. This is especially true in Congressional elections. There is a solution for that, though: term limits. Congress was designed to be a place for ordinary citizens to convene for a while and then return back to civilian life. It was not supposed to be a lifelong career. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is running for re-election this year, his 8th term! Grassley is 89 years old. If re-elected and Republicans take back the Senate, Grassley would become President Pro-tem, making him third in line of succession to be President. A scary thought.
So, back to term limits. How about two terms in the Senate (12 years) and five terms in the House (10 years)? We can debate the details, but I’ll bet we agree on the concept.
So, please remember to vote next week (if you haven’t voted early already, you impatient ones). It’s your duty and your privilege as an American. And I’ll see you at the polls on Election Day Tuesday.