Because I was selected for the Absentee Ballot Counting Board and will spend my election day and evening sequestered away in the basement of the jail, I needed to vote early. I cast my ballot yesterday.
I vividly remember standing outside in line on the previous election days, chatting with neighbors as we waited to reach the ballot box. As there was none of that today, it occurred to me that the election process has adopted an entirely different dynamic this year. I’m not sure if it’s due to COVID or other factors, but voting has become one more thing that is no longer a common experience.
It used to be that everyone, except for a very select few who were going to be verifiably absentee on Election Day, voted within the same dozen or so hours. There was a spirit of anticipation, nervousness and commonality that is not present with a month-long opportunity to vote.
Politicians have not recognized or adapted to this changing dynamic. The presidential debates are scheduled for mid and late October when literally tens of millions will have already voted. Our local candidates are in a forum at the end of the month, weeks after voting began. My mailbox still overflows with political ads, not taking into account that my vote is already cast.
Instead of Election Day, it has become Election Month. Did we need to go that far? A wider window is a good thing for those with fixed schedules or who need more flexibility, but with vote-by-mail options and drop boxes it seems that a week or two of voting would suffice.
If you want to increase the focus on something in your organization, don’t make it a month-long effort. Make it everyone’s priority for a day or week then let it go. Concentrating important events into a shortened time frame increases their intensity and prominence and makes it urgent instead of something you’ll tend to “later.”
I can’t think of anything more important than these elections. Don’t be lulled into complacency because there are still three weeks where you can “get around to” voting. Do your homework then pretend this week is all the time you have to do your civic duty.