Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I'm Not Voting: An Unhappy Confession

I'm not voting today.

Not because I don't want to or don't know who I would vote for.  No, I wouldn't have a moral dilemma when it came to pulling the lever, pressing the touch screen or filling in a little bubble with a number two pencil.

You see, I really, really, really wish I had an assigned precinct and was heading off to the polls this icy, frost covered morning.

But I'm not.

I'm actually incredibly embarrassed to even be admitting this, so bear with me.

With the husband in school he's generally gone, Monday through Thursday from early in the morning until very, very late at night.  He comes home at dinner time and helps with bedtime and then is off to study again.  I tried to figure it out last week and between studying and classes I would say he's doing school stuff a solid 14 hours a day.

I look forward to Friday all week long.  Or at least I did.  The truth is that these past weeks, with the huge amount of work he's had, Friday's and any other weekend days have been erased, so that when I say:  "I really need to go grocery shopping on Friday because the cupboards are empty"  he persistently responds with: "I told you that I have a memo due," which basically means "I might be able to pencil you in around dinner time after it's been sent off, but I can't really guarantee you'll be seeing me before midnight.").

And that leaves me imagining myself fainting while waiting in line at the grocery store, because whenever I stand still fainting is a very real possibility (hence pretty much not going anywhere along at this point).

Still, I didn't think I was being completely irresponsible as those early weeks after the move went by and I still hadn't registered.  I knew that we needed to get down the the Secretary of State's Office and I had the day at the beginning of October that we needed to be there by memorized.  We'd do it.  I still had time.

But then oh, how those Fridays' flew by.

Since I haven't been able to lift Mae for more than 10 seconds without ending up in the hospital spotting, we've been a little homebound during the week for much of the time since our move and it wasn't just limited to grocery shopping.  And to be honest, even if I could lift her I'd be intimidated about leaving the house, in my gigantic slow moving state, with my little "runner."  Once I can actually move freely again it won't be a problem, but for now?  It's not a safety risk I want to take.  So Friday's are jammed packed.  We get up and load up the car and do all the errands that have accumulated in the previous six days all at once.

As most of you know, doing errands with a 2 year old and a 4 year old can be rather slow.  The girls and I look look forward to the days as time with Daddy, but let's face it, by 2 pm everyone is a little cranky and in need of a nap.  But still I thought we'd get it done, right?

Except that somehow the weeks after we moved here kept on slipping by until there was only one Friday left.  Worse than that, there was only one day left.  

We could do this, I told myself.  It was my number one priority.  I studied the Secretary of State website the night before.  I went around the house and collected the many documents we would need to prove that we had recently moved.  I grumbled when I realized that a) we do online banking and have no banking statements that prove that we live here and that b) my name isn't on a single utility bill for our house.

Finally I had everything we needed.  I put it in an envelope.

A Sadie Frown for Mommy...
The next morning we bundled the girls into the car and set off on our adventure.  There were a few other things to do first.  We paid a bill.  We did the necessary, keep the house up and running, errands.  And then we followed the directions to the address I'd written down for the Secretary of States office.  It took us about a half hour to get there and we circled the block while I read off the number and scanned the busy down town district for a sign.  No luck.

We parked and paid for parking.  Paul got out with his paper work and agreed to find the office, while I waited in the car with the two, now grumpy, girls, having the fun contractions I'd been having for the previous two months that reminded over the course of the entire third trimester that yes indeed, I was gigantically pregnant and that The Boy could try to arrive at any time.  I watched the minutes on the clock tick by.  Where had the day gone?  The office would close in an hour and a half.  But we'd made it, right?

Half an hour later Paul returned to the car, shaking his head.  This particular Secretary of State office had been turned into a hookah bar.  He'd been directed by a waiter at the restaurant next door to head over to a nearby shopping center where another office was located.

There was more driving.  We circled the parking lot, looking for the office amid the dozens of shops.  The tension level in the car was growing.  I began to think that we should have done this separately while the girls were at home, but I'd started this whole registering to vote thing naively... in the past I've done it when we've moved, and it's never taken more than five minutes.  You fill out a paper and hand it in.  That's it.  And while I can totally understand having more checks to make sure we have actually moved here, I also completely underestimated what went in to registering in our new home state.

We were running out of time.

After stopping again to ask for directions we found it in a different shopping center, with a few other stores, and a shockingly full parking lot.  Paul walked in.  A few minutes passed.  He walked back out, along with another young man who'd just walked in and I almost cheered.  Look at how quick that was.  And then he shook his head again.

"There's a line of about two hundred people packed in there.  See this parking lot?" I glanced around, wondering if the jammed lot really was for the specialized empty looking stores around us, and realizing that it was unlikely.  He continued: "all the people from those cars are waiting in there for their turn."  My eyes returned to the clock.  An hour until the office closed.  There was no way we'd make it and we both knew it.

"Fine."  I said, feeling irresponsible and grumpy and guilty, all at the same time.

The feeling has persisted and grown in the weeks that have followed as I've read and heartily agreed with the posts I've read about how important it is to get out and vote and have felt like a big loser as I've made excuses for myself like:  "Well you did just move here and have kind of had your hands full, what being sick so much..." but still...  do I feel guilty?  Absolutely.  And irresponsible.  Yup.  Especially when I occasionally see a poll that shows Michigan as possibly undecided (I am pretty skeptical of it being anything other than "light blue" in reality... what with all the Obama lawn signs that have recently sprung up, defacing our beautiful city...).

Anyways that's confession on why I won't be voting today, and will be missing an election for the first time in my adult life.

Last night I kept hoping labor would start today, and then it would seem like I hadn't voted because I was, you know, in the hospital giving birth.  And besides, maybe watching the election coverage from my hospital bed would make the whole, being in labor thing, less painful.


It's not a mistake I'll be making again.  But I really, really wish that I hadn't made it during this election.

So I'll keep telling myself that either way, by tomorrow both the election and the pregnancy, will have come (or in the pregnancies case, be coming) to an end.  The induction is scheduled for 9 am.  And the race... well... if it's like last time we'll probably hear the projected winner the moment the polls close on the East Coast (as a native Californian it's always annoyed me how, with the polls open for hours longer, we're being told who's won... I can't imagine what it's like for those who live in Hawaii!).

Anyways... have a Happy Election Day!  Go out and vote!  The choice of our leader for the next four years depends on those of you who were responsible enough to actually register, so go make the most of it!

And if you're Catholic and trying to figure out who you're voting for or why this election is important... here is an awesome post.  And here's another!


  1. Thanks for this entry.

    My sister isn't voting; she cannot in good conscience, put her name behind either. Her hubby is a die-hard Republican. I almost didn't vote, then went with my opinion of the better candidate, despite being angry with him.

    This election has been so polarizing and hateful. Yesterday I had a meltdown and used profanity on Facebook on a status update bemoaning all the negativity. My cousin dressed for Hallowe'en as "the most evil being in the world...an Obama supporter!" Yesterday I read three separate comments about how "white people won't riot if Romney loses" but black people are sure to because "that's how those people are." Maybe I'm a naive little girl but would it kill us to find common ground, be thankful, and work for positive change rather than so much mud-slinging? What would happen if we didn't act like a bunch of spoiled, entitled brats? I miss Canada, as liberal as it is. If I didn't have four children, I would happily, happily go back.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about you, Cammie. Hoping you Big Day is safe and wonderful. I'm sure no matter how it plays out your little guy will get here safe and sound, and that's the bottom line! I was pregnant last year with my son and only a week off from your due date I think. I'm tickled to pieces you are now having a sweet little man! Lots of love and hugs.

  2. I think Michigan is one of the harder states to register in. I grew up there and registered shortly after my 18th birthday, but it was a pain. I think I was at the SOS to title a car in my name and did it then.

    When I moved to Ohio, (and Indiana, Illinois, Ohio again and finally Georgia), we registered either via the web or at the library.

    And not saying our votes don't count,but in the county you are in (as well as the county voted in when I lived there, two over from you) but it will go Obama anyway. That's generally the way of SE and some of Mid-Michigan, no matter who the D is and how horrible they are.

  3. Cam,
    It happened to me in the last national election. We moved to a new state in about a month prior to the election. So, due to the laws of our new state, we were past the deadline to register for that election. It happens sometimes, due to un foreseeable circumstances. Don't let it get you down. I just got back from voting. Romney isn't the savior of our country, but it still felt good to vote against Obama. Besides, the world already has a Savior. Now, I just need to try to relax and pray that God's will be done. Our priest advised fasting and prayer today. I cannot fast, due to pregnancy, but I will certainly be praying!
    God bless you and I hope your labor starts on its own today so you don't need induction or C-section! :-)

  4. Wow! I'm surprised it is such a burden to register to vote where you live! We were able to register online. Sorry you have to sit this one out.

  5. You can only do what you can do. You certainly gave it a good try. Also,your #1 job is to keep your 3 children, and yourself, healthy and safe. All of your missed opportunities (before the ill-fated attempt at registering) to vote were based on doing just that.
    I'll be thinking of you all day tomorrow! Mary Ann

  6. My husband is from MI, and I am from VA. I have to agree with him on most points (such as schools, weather with seasons, bodies of water, traffic, and cost of living) that MI is the superior state (we live in VA because that is where we can get jobs now).

    But it sounds like VA is the better state for voter registration. We have a "motor voter" law here, which means whenever you get, renew, or change the address for a VA driver's license you are given the option on the back of the driver's license form to change your voter registration to match. So if you are someone who legally drives a car (state law requires that you change your driver's license address within 30 days of moving), you pretty much have to deliberately refuse to be registered to vote. And not that the Division of Motor Vehicles offices are the fastest or friendliest places in the world to go, but they are plentiful, and don't turn into hookah bars, and make voter registration a 30 second painless addition to the driver's license process you have to go through anyway to legally drive a vehicle (and no additional paperwork, etc.).

    Just a side comment on the election - we got in line at 6 am to vote this morning when the polls opened, and the line was already several hundred deep - took an hour, and the line was MUCH longer when we left than when we arrived. Much higher turnout than 4 years ago, which was a record for VA at the time. And the mix in line was much different - more familes with young kids, and less college students (our three kids had a grand time running up and down the line with the 30 or so other toddlers we saw - vs. having the only baby in the early line 4 years ago). The crowd was much more polite and respectful of the wait as well - there was a lot of loud complaining and heckling the poll workers 4 years ago. I'm hoping the noticed difference in the crowd's size, mix, and behavior means that the conservative are seriously turning out this time (and we live in the liberal bastion of Northern VA, so if our line was dominated by conservatives, things may be boding well for VA "swinging" to Romney this time!)


  7. You definetly have extraordinary circumstances this election. I can understand your feelings though. I'll think of you when I vote today :) Happy election day, Cam!

    I think an election day birth would be really cool... come on baby!

  8. You should be able to vote for president even if you're only registering on actual election day. This is what I was told when I voted in MI, atleast.. You won't be able to vote local elections or propositions or anything, but you can vote for president. Worth a check, at any rate. And incidentally Michigan's near-swing-state status is what kept me registered there all throughout the military. Thought about changing my residency to AK for the money (pfd), but my conservative vote in a very conservative state wasn't all that earth-shattering, so MI it was! Tried to get one last election (this one) but was shot down ;]

  9. You can only do what you can do, and your family and health come first.

    I voted absentee (AL) last week, as I am out of state helping with the new baby (actually, they let us vote right there, rather than mailing it in as I thought.) When my husband went to vote this morning, he had to cast a provisional ballot, as someone had entered things wrong and listed HIM as having voted absentee! Hope they get it straightened out!


  10. Sorry you couldn't get registered in time, I figured it was something like that when I saw your post title. We are able to register at the polls today, which is nice and convenient. (Though also makes in person voter fraud easier). But we did have to show ID. LOL. I think we can register by mail prior to the election. Maybe the surprisingly close race here will make up for Michigan.

  11. I spent all last night at the adoration chapel, and will again tonight. I voted today, and tonight I'll register my vote with Him who matters. You can still pray, Cam. Prayers have changed the course of nations.


  12. I always vote, even if I have to write in the name of our archbishop, which is what I did on Tuesday. Also, there are other local races which are important.

  13. I always vote 3rd party. I could never in good conscience vote for one of the 'big two'.


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