Early voting starts tomorrow, October 18th. Around 20,000 Floridians have already voted via absentee ballot (and Florida law does not require any voter requesting an absentee ballot to actually be absent from their voting precinct). Many people are eager to vote, or they’re eager to just get it over with.
Let alone the candidates for federal and state offices, there are also local candidates to choose from for county and city seats, and then there are the amendments, judicial candidates and other ballot issues, and I want to stress to you that just about all of the ballot items are complex. Reading the ballot items or coming across a few editorial opinions or political discussions are not going to provide enough information and perspective for most of the issues on the ballot. Some of the issues seem to make sense to many voters, but the ramifications and the political realities actually make most of the issues much less obvious than I think many people realize.
WPBT Channel 2 has been covering the candidates, amendments and other ballot issues this past week, and “Issues” host Helen Ferre isn’t done yet with her program’s coverage. Michael Putney has yet to complete his own coverage of the candidates and ballot issues on his Sunday program, “This Week in South Florida.” He’ll be continuing his interviews, editorial opinions and coverage over the next two weeks.
You can watch Helen Ferre’s interviews regarding ballot issues here:
Well before the last primary, a friend of mine had received her absentee ballot and asked me for recommendations. After carefully studying the issues and the candidates, I put my recommendations in writing, but it was already too late for her. Despite never following politics, let alone much news, she told me that she had gone ahead and voted anyway: “I just did the best I could,” she said.
A friend of mine recently asserted that if people could vote a year in advance, they would as soon as they received a ballot in the mail. If we could vote in candidates permanently, many people, he said, would just pick up their pens and start scratching away.
I want to urge everyone who checks into Blue Broward to or looks to the politically informed for recommendations to please… be patient! You do not have to vote as soon as you receive your ballot or within days after the early voting polls locations open. If you feel perfectly confident in your choices and you strongly believe in voting well ahead of Election Day, that’s your choice, but I’m apparently the only person who’s speaking up to say- hold off! Don’t vote yet!
Things change in the weeks before Election Day. New information comes out. Local coverage of ballot issues hasn’t been wrapped up yet. The issues may be much more complex than you realize, and there are likely, I believe, considerations that haven’t occurred to you until you hear new arguments. Scandals break out. News can be dug up after ballots are mailed out and early voting has begun. Opinions and recommendations can change.
There used to be something called Election Day, don’t ya know, and most people went in person into a voting booth. It’s been done. I think there’s good reason to wait and hear out all of the arguments and the analysis.
I will be posting my voting recommendations, but the pressure I feel to get them posted by tomorrow seems unreasonable to me. I hope that those of you who haven’t voted yet will take heed of the opinion regarding the ballot that I’ve confirmed thus far: it’s too early to vote on such complex and important issues. So, please, consider waiting a little while longer until at least more local coverage of the ballot issues have been discussed in our media.
There was a lot of enthusiasm for the last presidential election, and the presidential campaigns went on and on and on and on, at the total cost of what- a billion dollars? (Actually, estimates have been even higher). The mid-term elections are not going to have that kind of turnout, and whatever reasons have been purported for having two weeks of early voting for both the primary elections as well as prior to November’s elections are, I suppose, just beyond me. I think the length of time for early voting in this cycle is excessive.
To ensure that you do get to vote, and in order to avoid unforeseen problems in either getting to your polling place or being allowed to vote, it is a good idea to vote prior to Election Day, if you can, so that any unexpected problem with your registration or logistics of getting to the polls might be worked out before Election Day. But so early? Mailing in a ballot weeks ago? I don’t get it, and I don’t recommend it.
I recommend that you follow as much of the local and national coverage as possible over the next two weeks, look for my recommendations if you care to, and vote closer to Election Day. I’ll be putting all of my recommendations together as soon as possible, but for right now, the day before early voting begins, I think it’s just too early to confirm all of my decisions. I’ll be holding off at least a few more days, and I hope that you will, too.