Why I Changed My Mind and Voted Absentee

I wrote a while ago of my plans to vote in person this election. I was worried about election day numbers for Trump vs. Biden, and I thought that the more in-person votes Biden could rack up, the better. And I was planning on sticking to that decision . . . until today, when I voted by absentee ballot (dropping it in the ballot box at my town office).

Why the change in heart?

Simply put, COVID cases have been rising in Maine. My university had three cases a week and a half ago, and they just tested another 1200 people at the beginning of the week. (I was one of those. It was a spit test, so no nasal swab to my brain, but whoa nelly did that test need a lot of spit. You think you’ve got plenty of saliva, until you’re required to spit it all out into a tube and realize that the supply of saliva is far from endless.)

Tomas was supposed to go to the orthodontist’s last Monday to get his braces off, but because of the outbreak here at UMF, they didn’t let us go. (Abundance of caution, and some more details I won’t get into at the moment.) Once I got off the phone with the orthodontist, I had come to the stark realization that there are clear consequences to not just testing positive for COVID, but for having been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID.

With all these tests happening at my university, I decided there was a significant chance that someone I know and interact with regularly might test positive, even if I didn’t. (In case you were wondering, I got my tests back today, three days after I took the test. I am COVID negative.) What would I do about voting if suddenly I had to quarantine? I might care about Biden’s vote tally on the actual day of the election, but I care even more that I get to vote this year. I didn’t want anything to come between me and casting that ballot.

So Denisa voted early in person, and she picked up an absentee ballot for me, and the rest is history.

For the record, it felt very satisfying to fill in all those circles. Especially since I got to use the ranked choice voting mechanic (in spite of all the Republican efforts to stop it). I know some have said that sort of voting grid is confusing, but I found it straightforward, with the directions clearly printed next to it. If you can read, you can use it.

For the record, I voted for every single non-Republican I could. I refused to vote for any Republican candidate this election. I’ve had it with current Republicans at both the state and national level, period. Their approach to politics is not one I agree with by now. I’m not saying the Democrats are miles better, but they are at least closer to what I’d like to see happen. (What I’d really favor would be a fully realized ranked choice vote. No more two party system, please!)

In any case, I’ve now voted this year. All that’s left to do is wait . . .

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2 thoughts on “Why I Changed My Mind and Voted Absentee”

  1. Same here, Bryce. I voted Democrat across the board except for one local candidate that had no one running against her. I don’t think I’ve every voted this way before. More Democrats yes, but not like this. I think we’ve all just had enough. And I’m glad your test came back negative but sad for Tomas!

    1. He got rescheduled to Monday. Not a big delay, thankfully . . .

      There was one Republican running unopposed on my ballot. I didn’t vote for her, based on principle alone this year. 🙂

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