I’m a big planner. I like having all of my ducks in a row. I want my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed. I don’t love to leave things to chance.
I had a birth plan when I was pregnant with my kids. I still have the spreadsheets, seating charts, and menus from their b’nai mitzvahs. I pride myself on being organized in everything from our family calendar to job hunting. I know this makes me sound square, but it is how I’m wired.
Up until a few days ago, my voting plan was to wake up at 6:30 a.m., get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, drive to the church that serves as my polling place and cast my vote in person. I didn’t want to mail in my ballot. Not because I believe it won’t be counted. I have great faith and trust in the system. I encouraged — ok, nagged — my college-aged daughter to vote by mail.
Personally, I love to be a part of the day. I want to stand in line with my neighbors, walk in the building, thank the poll workers, sign my name in the book, be with my fellow citizens, and make my choice in public view. There is something to be said about wanting to be seen while performing my patriotic duty.
Ok, I’d like to collect my “I Voted” sticker too.
But then, I had a thought. What if I’m sick that day? What if I wake up with a nasty cold or a stomach bug and have no business standing in line and being around other people?
What if I miss my chance to have my voice heard?!
Frankly, I would be devastated. I’ve voted in just about every election since I turned 18. Voting is a ritual in my family. So much so that I’ve written a few posts about it – here and here. It’s that important to me. And this is not a year to miss. Personally, I can’t take four more years of our current commander in chief. I know I may have to, but it won’t be because I didn’t have a say.
Did I also mention that I live in a swing state? Pennsylvania turned red in 2016 and that was a punch in the gut for me. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia which is fairly liberal, but there are a lot of rural communities between here and Pittsburgh. We have a good chance of going blue this year, and a thin margin must be prevented at all costs.
So, I bit the bullet and ordered a mail-in ballot. I will proudly do my civic duty from my kitchen table instead of in person. There is too much at stake and in a pandemic, it’s too risky. I don’t want to throw away my shot.
Do you have a plan to vote? If not, you have 32 days to make one. I hope your plans include bringing your kids with you or at least talking to them about the process. No matter what your political leanings may be, the right to vote is something we should take seriously.
FYI: If you want an absentee ballot, visit the Better Know Your Ballot website for details about your state.