This article was written by Cath Kestler, resident of Silver Creek.
Today is the day we all have been waiting for our right as a citizen to vote, as long as you are registered to do so. Many have fought so hard for this right to have our voices heard, don’t let opportunity pass you by.
Here in New York we only have one day to participate, other states have early voting and some have only mail-in voting. It has been bandied about declaring Election Day as a national holiday to give everyone a chance to vote; those who work in those professions that ‘know no holidays’ are still left with the same predicament.
Take for example, Oregon where all voting happens by mail-in ballots, where each voter is given time to research the initiatives on the ballot instead of guessing what they mean on the fly in a voting booth. The turnout rate is excellent—85% of the population votes. So I took the time to ask Norman Green, the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee Chairperson a couple of questions:
What do you think of early voting in New York? Norm replied, ‘I totally favor early voting in New York. I think Gov. Cuomo’s early voting proposal is sensible and workable.’
Are you for or against mail-in ballot voting like in Oregon and why? ‘I oppose mail-in ballots for two reasons; (1) it takes away an election held at a point in time certain that it is decided by most voters at an election with the same set of circumstances when most voters cast ballots. (2) Mail-in voting opens the door to fraud. Having to present one’s self at a poll site and voting in secret adds to the confidence of the election vote.’
I was unable to procure a statement from the Republican committee as at the time I am writing this I have not received a return call.
Another thought came to mind while putting this together—why doesn’t every state and municipality utilize the same voting machine with a paper trail in the event that a problem occurs and a recount is necessary? There have been reports in early voting that when a vote was cast for a certain candidate, the computer changes the vote cast for the opposition before you push the button to register your vote. Be very careful when you cast your vote and don’t worry about rechecking and verifying that who you vote for is actually the candidate you intended to vote for. As contentious as this election has been it will be a big relief to know that today as you cast your ballot, it’s almost over.
I know I enjoy going into our regular polling site and see the familiar smiling faces of our neighbors picking up the paper ballot, filling in those ovals with the Sharpies and standing waiting to put that ballot into that machine to make my vote count. Have your “EUREKA” moment!
You cannot cast your vote by text; you must show up in person. Know your polling place and the times they are open.
Voting is your Right as a citizen.
If an alleged “poll watcher” tries to impede you at the polling site:
- Tell them kindly to step out of your way.
- Take his/her picture with a cell phone. (Photos are not allowed INSIDE polling site. Obey local laws. If the individual is armed, please take a picture from a safe distance)
- Inform a poll worker inside the site.
- Call one of the following—
Local Board of Elections
Local FBI Field Office (fbi.gov)
US Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division Voting Section (202)307-2767 or (800)253-3931
Non-partisan watchdog Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE.
All of the hard work and diligent campaigning will culminate with bringing about the change and forward progress we are seeking. It will take time for friendships and families torn apart by this election season to mend give it time, this should heal all wounds. Remember we are all stronger together.
I really would like to hear what you have to say about the possibility of early voting or mail-in ballot voting.