Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Stanton: I elect to make mine last-minute votes

Political activists, candidates and elections officials want you to vote now – assuming you haven’t already.

They hope you already have, because you can’t control what may happen to you Nov. 7.

The day of the 2004 presidential election, for example, a Tucson man had a heart attack but refused to be admitted to a hospital because he hadn’t voted.

He called Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez, who personally advised him to admit himself and promised to send a team out to get his vote.

She can’t do that for all of us, though. So she’s delighted that at least half of the voters in Pima County will cast ballots by mail or at early voting sites.

I won’t be among them.

Since infancy, my child has been dragged to the polls to see first-hand one of the civic responsibilities that comes with U.S. citizenship.

Acquaintances suggest we could sit at a table at home and go over the early ballot together, discussing each item.

Great idea. But I want to vote. I want to really vote.

At the primary, for one thing, I love how the election volunteer asks me, “Which party?”

In our old Denver neighborhood, the answer was predictable. But in northeast Pima County, I’m a duck out of water.

So I carefully calibrate the tone of my response, avoiding the “Are you nuts?” implication in favor of the jocular, “You’re kidding, right? I mean, is there really any choice?” as I declare proudly (and loudly): “Democrat!”

Voting in person, you also get to see your neighbors. And you share that tacit complicity that says: Yes, we’re good citizens – and we vote.

Besides, for me, dropping an envelope into a mailbox doesn’t provide the same thrill as sliding my fresh selections into the scanner.

And then, of course, you get to walk out of the polling place proudly sporting one of those red, white and blue stickers that proclaims: I voted.

It’s a good reminder for everyone you see who hasn’t hustled down to the polls yet.

But none of these is the real reasons I wait to vote in person.

I wait because people never fail to amaze and disappoint me.

Months before the September primary, I could tick off the names of my favorite candidates in both major parties.

In one key race, had my candidate not won the primary, I was prepared to cross party lines in the general election.

But as the campaigns wore on, my list of “favorite candidates” changed.

One of the best indicators of how politicians will behave in office is illustrated in how they campaign.

And as some primary campaigns grew nasty, sloppy or stupid, my opinions of some people evolved.

We never know what they’ll do until they’ve done it, but the last-minute insights gleaned as campaigns heat up can be mighty telling.

For folks who are going to be out of the country, are disabled or aren’t paying close attention to political campaigns anyway: Go ahead. Vote now.

With propositions aplenty and candidates galore, the Nov. 7 ballot is going to be a bear.

It promises to be time- consuming enough without you having to stand in line at the polling place.

That’s where I’ll be, though.

Call me old-fashioned. But if one of my favorites gets caught e-mailing smut to youngsters, that’s information I can use on Election Day.

Billie Stanton may be reached at bstanton@tucsoncitizen.com or 573-4664.



● How to obtain a ballot by mail: www.recorder.pima.gov/earlyreq.html

● Where to vote now: www.recorder.pima.gov/votinglocations.html

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