Through rain, thunder, dark of night (and occasional mood), my daughter in-law Danni has been cheerfully canvassing neighborhoods to get out the vote.
For the most part, Wisconsinites have been receptive to her efforts to provide them with information on how, where and when they can cast their ballots. One man stood the requisite six feet away from her and deliberately ripped up the literature she provided, but Danni considered even that an important conversation.
Our right to vote is also our responsibility and, after all the painful conversations, social media squabbles, awkward debates and endless commercials, it feels really good to take part in one of democracy’s greatest gifts.
I love this vast and complex country we call home and I applaud its residents for their passion, their desire to stand up for their beliefs and their willingness to learn and grow.
My son Charlie and daughter in-law (note, again, how much I love that phrase) Tara stood in line for three hours on the first day of early voting in Queens, New York. Tara has been spending all her free time volunteering for various campaigns around the country, in person before the pandemic and then via phone banking and data volunteering.
My mom and my daughters Katherine and Molly also already have cast their ballots because they feel passionately invested in this election. So have many members of my extended family and friends.
We can’t control much about 2020, but we can do this: we can fill out our ballot exactly the way we choose. Your vote matters just as much as anyone else’s, including each candidate on the ballot and all of the people telling you which of them to support. In Wisconsin, your vote might even mean a little bit more because Wisconsin is considered a swing state, meaning both that our 10 electoral college votes could go either way and that they could alter the election night trajectory. When Donald Trump took Wisconsin by just .77% in 2016, he was the first Republican president to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
I like to think we owe our variance to residents who can discuss actual issues and consider real solutions, and who are willing to transcend political affiliation to do so.
I’ve read and heard a lot of political chatter this year in what has become a depressingly divisive election season and I’m glad it’s winding down.
I also know the most eloquent response to any political discussion is my vote.
In Wisconsin you can request a mail in ballot up until Oct. 29, but it has to be received by the elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. The postmark isn’t what counts (unlike with your taxes), so if you plan to mail your ballot in, you should do so no later than Oct. 27. After that, in Appleton, you can drop it off at City Center or in one of the ballot boxes located at the fire stations.
Same day registration is available for early, in person voting with a valid form of id.
Polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 but if you encounter a long line, you’re still good in Appleton. As long as you get to the line before 8 p.m. you will still be allowed to vote.
Go get ’em!