EARLY VOTING – You Don’t Have To Be a Dinosaur To Do Your Civic Duty
Today, Florida and Arizona politicians slog it out like prizefighters in their primaries. Debbie Wasserman Schultz fights to hold on to her Senate seat in Florida whilst progressive challenger, Ex-University of New Mexico tenured law professor, Tim Canova, swings right and left jabs. In Arizona, Democratic candidate Ann Kirkpatrick has been throwing uppercuts and body blows at Republican rival John McCain since the spring. With a contentious race underway, Kirkpatrick just might have McCain on the ropes. We’ll see, as results start trickling in later this evening.
The US Presidential Election is a mere 69 days, 1674 hours, 100444 minutes, 6026659 seconds (and counting) but who’s counting anyway?
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 can’t come fast enough. If you also have restless voter syndrome, i.e. biting your nails to the quick, taking an obscene number of useless online polls (Which Cast Member of Game of Thrones are YOU?”) and struggling with errant thoughts that bounce between masterminding an election party with your closest friends, or hiding under your bed until people stop firing guns in the air, then perhaps early voting might be the way to go. Or, you know wait . . . until the 11th hour. What could possibly go wrong?
Early voting at one time, seemed to be the domain of RNC. In fact, more than 1 million Floridians have already voted in their Primary. “Of the votes cast, either in person or by mail, so far: 56 percent (690,071) have come from registered Republicans while 43.9 percent (540,990) are from registered Democrats.”
For the civic-minded New Mexican (and perhaps, the anxious) early voting in New Mexico begins in one month, on October 11 through November 5. There are a few things to do to ensure that you can bubble in all of those little ovals. First, you must find out if you are registered to vote in the State of New Mexico. Click here to unlock the mystery.
ARE YOU REGISTERED?
If you’re not registered in New Mexico, you have a fairly small window to get that done. Click here to fill out a voter registration form. Voter registration ends 28 days prior to an election. (Section 1-4-8, NMSA 1978). For the 2016 General Election, THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS OCTOBER 11, 2016. OMG – get it done, please!
ADVENTURES IN VOTING
A history of voting in a bite-sized nugget.
Did you know that Americans have voted on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in November since 1845? When we were a primarily an agrarian society, public life consisted of a trip to the farmer’s market by horse-drawn carriage on Saturday, and church on Sunday. Voters consisted of white male property owners only- they alone were allowed to make all of the decisions for the body politic. No women. NO. And absolutely no one considered to be ⅗ of a person! The landowner requirement was eventually dropped around 1856, and the suffragettes won votes for some women, in 1920. THEN the Black Civil Rights Movement of the 1954-1968 brought voting to all citizens of age. And yet, so many of us pass on this civic duty, and this hard-won privilege.
Here are a few sample turn-outs from the New Mexico primaries, earlier this year:
Roughly, only 30% of people eligible to vote in the New Mexico primaries, did – in just about every county. Taking into consideration these results are from our most recent primaries, they still reveal our collective apathy. Will we respond differently to the General Election in November? It’s hard to know. Studies show that early voting increases voter turnout, takes the strain off physical polling places, and supports of county clerks, as they scramble to present election results as soon as possible. The answer is: EARLY VOTE – it helps everyone.
On Tuesday, October 11, registered, New Mexico voters will have the first opportunity to cast their ballot. At the County Clerk’s Annex, One Civic Plaza NW 6th Floor, Albuquerque, NM 87102, from 8am until 8pm. (This is subject to change. Please follow this blog for updates!) Early voting will open city-wide, on October 22. Want to know where you can early vote?
Reports for Arizona are starting to roll in. It’s going to be a long night.
Happy voting, everyone!
Next up: The Mathematics of Voting.