This 2012 Presidential Election is the first time I participated in Illinois' early voting.
I have to say it was one of the most pleasant in-person voting experiences I ever had, since moving from my Southwest Side of Chicago childhood home to where I live now in the Southwest Suburbs.
I say 'in-person' because I voted by Absentee Ballot in 2010 -- or ‘Naked Voting' -- as its website declares. Well, okay ... I did wear socks.
I drove to my suburb's Village Hall on a Sunday afternoon, and followed the 'Early Voting Here' signs to its second floor. There I was greeted by some of the most enthusiastic election workers I have ever met.
'Early voting? Come in!’
After checking in and verifying I was a registered voter, I was led to an available voting machine.
'Do you have any questions? Great! Just ask, if you need help!’
I took approximately 10-15 minutes to vote. I’m one of those check and recheck voters, much like when I take a test. I read through everything once, and then voted for the ‘definites’ first. Then the ‘almost sure ofs’ next. Finally, the ‘I’m uncertain about and/or never heard of these people.’
And now it’s your turn.
You still have Tuesday, November 6 to vote.
The Illinois polling places open at 6 AM and close at 7 PM. You can still vote early by arriving at your designated polling place at 6 AM or as soon as humanly possible.
Then you will be done.
Think of all the time you will have to do whatever must be done on Tuesday by voting early.
Think of how late you can work, since you will not have to worry about voting.
Your boss will love you!
And you will avoid all those last minute after work long lines. You can leave work, catch the 5:02 PM train home. Get a comfy seat. And be home in time to have a relaxing dinner, as you watch the local and national election results late into the evening.
As I mentioned, I lived on the Southwest Side of Chicago from the day I was born until 1996. During that time, my late Uncle Bill served as a Democratic Precinct Captain for 15 years. Voting was a natural and expected part of our lives.
The one part of the election process I recall the most is Uncle Bill’s ‘Dear Neighbor’ letter to his precinct voters. I remember it because it always ended this way:
Always remember to exercise your precious right to vote.
These two words carry such much meaning to me.
I see images of men and women in military uniforms fighting a foreign enemy on and beyond US soil to protect me.
I see police officers and firefighters helping people walk down hundreds and hundreds of stairs within and out of the World Trade Center Towers to safety.
I see the Florida registered voters waiting for five, six, seven, even eight hours, despite that State’s Governor and election personnel’s attempt to suppress the voters’ right to participate in early voting.
I would love to end this blog by telling who to cast your vote for President of the United States of America.
But I won’t.
But I will end this blog by telling you this:
Always remember to exercise your precious right to vote ... really, really, early.