|My 2016 sticker for voting!|
I used to love the excitement of voting on election day. But as I grew older and my life grew more hectic, the excitement dissolved into intense stress. Now I vote early. Here's why.
1. It is less stressful. As I said, there is no pressure to get to work on time, the lines aren't as long, and I won't miss out on voting if I have to leave and come back the next day. I don't go on the first or last day of early voting, because of the crowds. Rather, I find an odd time, usually mid-morning, during which crowds are likely low at the same time my schedule is less hectic.
2. Someone on Facebook pissed me off. Yes, I admit I let someone's stupid, asinine post get under my skin. Basically, he told those who don't support his candidates not to vote. One of his "friends" then posted in the comments, "...or procreate." This upset me greatly and motivated me to want to vote as soon as possible. What was even more disturbing was the fact that this was an educated person who is well-respected in the community — or should I say "was" well-respected.
3. I like to be early. When I show up for a hair, doctor, work or any other kind of appointment, I have to wait at least 15 minutes because I arrive so early. I get this from my father, who was always early enough to snag the first parking place at a major event — I learned to stow snacks in my pockets, as this also meant it'd be forever before it was time to eat again.
4. I like to be done. I do not like tasks hanging over my head. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I make lists so I can strike through what I've completed. Being done gives me a rush almost as great as that first cup of coffee.
5. The parking is better. This year, the early voting poll nearest my house was in a large, old shopping center with tons of parking. It was easy to access and I had no problem finding a place to park. When I was done, I slipped right back out. It was gloriously accessible.
6. There is less harassment. There were no candidates or candidate representatives hovering outside the polls during early voting — at least not where I voted. I did not head into the polls with pockets full of magnets, post cards, stickers, emory boards, pens or other junk-drawer fillers that have no shot at swaying my vote. Rather, one of the business owners in the shopping center was handing out free one-week passes to his gym. I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to give voters during this year's election.
7. The feeling of hope lingers. Rather than packing all the excitement into one day, I have a couple of weeks to draw out the euphoria one feels after having voted. I tie that feeling to the glimmer of hope that those I supported just might win as I mute campaign commercials and toss campaign mailbox fillers in the recycling bin without giving them a glance. I liken it to celebrating one's birthday for an entire birthday month rather than just one day.
Whether you vote early, like I did, or you wait until Nov. 8, please make time to vote. Regardless of who you support for each office, you should always exercise your right as an American and vote.
And if you do wait until election day, you can think of me while you're waiting in line wishing you hadn't had that second cup of coffee. I'll be having a less-hectic day as I watch it all from afar. I might even be watching from the gym as I work off election year stress — for free.
Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books.