I’m Never Voting On Election Day Again. Join Me!

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s strange to think that I will never again get up on Election Day and head to the polls. I’ll never again take my granddaughter with me to see me fill out my ballot and drop it into the ballot counter. I’ll never again grab two “I Voted” stickers — one for her and one for me.

I’m voting absentee from now on, something I swore I’d never do.

Let me explain. In January’s special election to fill the 7th District State Senate seat left vacant when Republican Jen Kiggans was elected to Congress, Democrat Aaron Rouse won by a razor-thin majority of 696 votes with 50.84 percent of the vote. The district is split between part of Norfolk and part of Virginia Beach. Republican Kevin Adams won the Election Day contest and even the early voting.

But what clinched the election for Rouse were absentee ballots in Virginia Beach, traditionally a Republican stronghold. Of the 5,884 absentee ballots returned, 4,283 were for Rouse.

Here, look at the results:

To their credit, Republicans learned their lesson.

On the Kerry and Mike Show Tuesday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced an energetic new push to have GOP voters embrace absentee ballots with the same gusto Democrats do — something many of us have been reluctant to embrace.

“Your vote matters and we’re going to need engagement from everyone interested in moving Virginia forward to be successful. We can’t go into Election Day down thousands of votes, so I’m thrilled to have such strong partners coming alongside us in this effort. We fundamentally believe Secure Your Vote Virginia is how, together, we can win in 2023 and beyond,” Youngkin said.

He’s right!

Conservatives are late to this early voting party.

I like voting on Election Day, we say.

Election Day should be a national holiday, we declare.

Absentee ballots should be available only to the sick, infirm or those in the military, we gripe.

Sorry. Too late. Mail-in and early voting are here and they aren’t going away. Democrats figured that out in 2020. Looks like Virginia’s Republicans have finally joined them.

Absentee voters can take their absentee ballots to the polls on Election Day and swap them for ballots to vote in person. (Not sure I see the point of that if the party is trying to bank early votes, but whatever.)

Former Congresswoman Thelma Drake recently penned an open letter to Republicans urging them to join her in signing up for permanent absentee ballots:

I am proposing that all Republican voters request permanent absentee ballots. Even if you prefer to vote in person, you can retain the automatically mailed ballot, bring it with you on election day, and exchange it for a standard ballot. The key takeaway here is if unforeseen circumstances arise, like an illness or unexpected travel, you can simply mail in your ballot. This ensures you have the ability to vote in every election. The process is trackable too; you’re given a tracking number when you submit your absentee ballot.

While I appreciate that many Republicans prefer to vote in person on Election Day in keeping with American tradition, this limits our voting window to 13 hours, whereas Democrats have a 45-day early voting period, mail-in votes, and permanent absentee ballots at their disposal.

Yesterday Youngkin rolled out Secure Your Vote Virginia, an ambitious new website that makes it easy for Virginia voters to request absentee ballots for the next election or for every election.

I went to the website, filed out a simple form and asked to be placed on the permanent absentee ballot list.

Hey, I could die between the day I return my ballot in late September and Election Day on November 5th.

If that happens, I want to do what Democrats have been doing for decades: vote even after I’m dead.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.

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10 responses to “I’m Never Voting On Election Day Again. Join Me!”

  1. Virginia Gentleman Avatar
    Virginia Gentleman

    Awesome to see Republicans admit they were wrong and got outsmarted by Dems – even if they spin it to save face.

  2. I’m a traditionalist. Others can do as they please, but I intend to vote in person. I might change my mind if I’m confined to a wheelchair one day, but as long as I can drive to the polls five minutes away, I’m pulling a lever, not licking a stamp.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      I’ve gone to the courthouse to vote early. I was there for a shift as an observer anyway. Since seeing it in operation in Texas years ago, I’ve long been comfortable with early voting. My problem with this “automatic” absentee list is the thing Kerry brought up, that a ballot can get sent unknowingly to a deceased or moved voter. But if the D’s put that in place, the R’s are nuts not to encourage it, too.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Well, statistically speaking, it would be a minuscule number of ballots sent to dead folk that would wind up in the hands of someone so vile as to use it, but if it helps Republicans, well, so be it.

        I mean, the only such documented cases in 2020 were Trump votes.

    2. Thomas Dixon Avatar
      Thomas Dixon

      Until now, I felt that way as well. Then I saw what happened to thousands of people on election day in Arizona.

  3. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Eye roll. Don’t worry about voting like you’re alive after you’re dead so long as you’re voting like you’re dead while you’re alive.

    It’s the total count, you know. Anyone can jump and shout at halftime.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      The “automatic” absentees were the deciding votes in that key special election for State Senate down at the Beach. That was a kick in the teeth to the GOP. This is a very smart move on their part. Others besides you are responding with snark to cover your concern it is going to tip the scale a bit.

      Just remember, folks, despite the advice, if you get the early absentee by mail don’t ignore it. You should use it. If you do NOT, and then do NOT bring it with you, unopened, on Election Day, you will be handed a provisional ballot and will be filling out a form. Those will count but it is a pain. I’m seeing more and more of those come in the door of the poll, people who say, “Gee, I guess I left it at home.” Slows down the line.

      Early voting in person is very easy.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Early voting in person! That’s the ticket. No lines, and a reason to go out for lunch.

      2. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        A bit similar situation to 2013, when a then Senator Reid was warned not to invoke the nuclear option. He was warned it would come back to bite him, it did and they whined about it the entire time.

  4. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Thelma Drake and Kerry make the case for early and absentee voting as well as any Democrats did. My hunch is that, if Republicans embrace absentee and early voting to the extent that Youngkin hopes, they are not going to be willing to give it up and the Republican legislators will hear from their constituents if they introduce bills to restrict these options. By the way, my earlier analysis revealed that the “automatic absentee list” was the most frequent target of those bills in 2022 and 2023.

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