Imagine that you found out who the responsible party was who added at least a week to the seemingly endless election season that we all thought ended Tuesday night.
Imagine that you learned who was behind at least a week more of talk about who was going to win or lose and repetitive statements from candidates and supporters about how they feel about their chances.
Well, all that some of you would have to do is look in the mirror.
Yes, you there, brushing your teeth.
You were one of the 800,000 or so Arizona voters who received an early ballot, but you didn’t vote early. Not even close. And because of that, today we’re still seeing it all on TV and reading about it in the paper.
Yes, they’re still talking about how they’re still holding out hope, that the “voice of the people has yet to be completely heard,” that “we’re feeling confident this morning, this afternoon, this evening, I love America (did I tell you that? Oh, I didn’t, well, I really do)…..See you tomorrow and we’ll tell you that all over again.”
And it’s all your fault, hardly-early voters.
If you did fill out your ballot weeks ago, it looks as though you let it sit there on the dining room table. Or, you got it weeks ago, but kept putting off drawing those little black lines in it until it got to the point that if you put that ballot in the mail it wouldn’t get there in time.
So you ended up doing something you would have ended up doing anyway if you didn’t order that early ballot: You went down to your local polling place, got in line and then gave the poll workers your EINO (early in name only) ballot.
Of course, elections officials say that early ballots not in their hands by the Friday before Election Day on Tuesday are probably not going to get counted until after Tuesday, because there are so many that came in before Friday that have to be counted first.
In our case, it’s getting to be well after Tuesday before all the votes are counted, well, thanks to you.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office announced that as of the close of counting Thursday, 631,274 ballots from all over Arizona were yet to be checked and counted.
That individual checking process involves checking the signature on the early ballot against the one on file, yes, for each individual ballot. It has to be done on early ballots actually voted early, too, but they are checked and counted by Election Day, so we know their results by then).
So if you’re frustrated that the counting is taking days and days and days, it’s because these remaining ballots aren’t being run through some sort of machine. Go to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website to see live streaming video of dozens of elections workers examining the ballots one at a time.
All because hundreds of thousands of you couldn’t (a) put your ballot – postage not needed – into the mailbox reasonably early enough so they’d get it before the election or (b) didn’t actually fill it out until it was too late.
Now, I know what some of you late-early folks are saying: “What if I vote and then something awful about my candidate becomes known?” Yes, the quite slim odds exist that your low-taxes, small-government candidate is really a tax-everybody free-spender whose true nature could be made known late in the campaign.
So if you are one of those nervous people who think that’s going to happen, then do yourself and Arizona a favor: Please don’t ask for an early ballot. Your worries about October surprises and such are going to keep it on the dining room table anyway.
Instead, do what you’re going to end up doing: Go to the polls on Election Day, get in line and – yes, here’s the big finish – vote the old-fashioned way. You’ll get to take into consideration any last-minute weirdness, unlikely as that is, and your vote will count. That day. Really. When you see numbers tracking across your TV screen that night you can say with confidence, “Hey! That’s my vote being counted!”
And if enough of you face up to your procrastinating tendencies – and boy, I can tell you about a bunch of my own – by the Sunday after Election Day we can sit back, turn on our televisions and fully enjoy what we’re really entitled to this time of year, unencumbered by post-election news and candidates’ last gasps:
Musical commercials about buying Christmas gifts.