In Praise of Asynchronous Voting

My name is Jim Connelly, and I am an Asynchronous Voter. And by that I mean that instead of voting on Election Day itself, I’ve always requested an absentee ballot and voted by mail. I’ve been an Asynchronous Voter for several years now, ever since I realized that the State of California would let me mail in my ballot instead of waiting in line either prior to or after work.

I’ve always figured that it didn’t matter how or when I cast my vote, as long as I cast it. For the longest time, this made me an anomaly — voting absentee every election was weird for a young(er), healthy, non-traveling person.

However, this year, I’ve become a trend! Loads of people are voting asynchronously. I should have known something was up when the State of California asked Rox and I if we wanted to become “Permanent Vote by Mail Voters”. Hell yes!

It’s not just voting by mail, of course. In many states, the polls have opened early, and people are standing in long lines to make sure that their voices are heard. There have been glitches, of course, but isn’t it way better that those glitches get worked out over a period of days or weeks instead of a period of hours?

No matter the method, it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt that asynchronous voting has exploded this year, and the concept of “Election Day” is in danger of becoming as amorphous as the concept of the “release date” or “broadcast time.” It’s become more and more of a time-shifting world, and for something as important as a Presidential Election, it only makes sense that give people at least the same 21st century options that they have for watching 30 Rock. (Which comes back this week, finally!)

The reality is that we’ve become an asynchronous society. Except for the Super Bowl, of course, we don’t do anything at the same time as a nation anymore, so why should this be any different? How we vote has always been an expression of who we are, and so as we change as a people, it makes sense that how we vote changes along with it.

Which is why I don’t think that this is an Obama-related phenomenon, as some observers have said. Sure, he might be the catalyst for the record numbers — especially since this is far more natural for younger people, who have lived like this their entire lives — but I think that the asynchronous voting trend itself will be even more pronounced in future elections.

In the end, Election Day will become more of a deadline than anything else, and no spoilers please! Those who have always thought that it was special, and that exercising their franchise on Election Day is part of what makes this country great will still have it. And more power to them! They feel that the ritual is part of what makes it special, but I just don’t have that kind of time.

Me, I think that what makes this country great is how we are continually progressing, and I’m glad that progress has allowed me to already vote: Yes on Obama and No on 8.

One Response to “In Praise of Asynchronous Voting”

  1. Kirk says:

    Voting by mail is not such a good idea in certain ares. Like the states/counties that print your party affiliation on the outside of the envelope.

    So, for all you folks who may be reading this who live in one of those areas, make sure you go to an early polling place.

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