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Here's Why I'll Never Vote... (early).

Is this is the most important election of our lifetime, one that will signal to the world the kind of nation we aspire to be?

That's what the politicians and pundits tell us. (True, they tell us that every election, but this time it may actually be true.)

Don't care. I'm not voting.......................... early.

Early voting seems to be the "in" thing these days. A few years ago, so many people were walking around with "I Voted" stickers on their lapels that I briefly feared that I'd slept through Election Day.

The percentage of people voting early since the 1990s has increased from about one-tenth to one-third of all voters. Those who cast their ballots before the first Tuesday following the first Monday have good reasons: to get it out of the way, to avoid long lines, to be able to walk around with those little stickers on before anyone else.

My buddy Elvie - or L.V. : we've never figured it out or bothered to ask him - was bragging recently about being in and out of the library where he votes in less than three minutes, exulting that he cast his ballot without encountering the touts standing at the entrance handing out fliers telling him for whom to vote.

No muss, no fuss, he said.

Hmmph. Those are precisely the two reasons I don't vote early - the muss and the fuss. Not only do I love the muss, but I usually ask for a second dollop of the fuss. I never feel more American than when standing in line behind some young citizen eyeballng her or his first ballot, or behind an octogenarian casting possibly his or her last one.

Is it weird to actually love standing in line watching democracy in action, to not even begrudge the people lolling out front of the polling stations trying to hand you a slate of candidates?

Standing in line to vote, one feels a sense of community with your fellow citizens, because you know that they, like you, care enough about their country, county, city to turn off Wheel of Fortune and put down the pool cue long enough to involve themselves in civic affairs.

Here's another great thing about standing in line to vote on Election Day: Where else can one go to feel as though they're standing in a Norman Rockwell painting?




Meet Barry Saunders

For over 20 years, Barry was a columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He also wrote for other publications, such as the Atlanta Constitution and the Richmond County Daily Journal. Often described as powerfully honest and illustratively funny, Barry's writing is both loved and hated by readers- sometimes simultaneously.  


Want more? Get your own copy of one of Barry's published books featuring reader favorites (and not so favorites) from his years writing columns for The News & Observer. Titled "Do Unto Others...And then Run" and "...And The Horse You Rode In On Saunders!", they're full of guaranteed entertainment. 


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