"What shall . . . we use . . . to fill . . . the empty . . . spaces . . . where . . . we used . . . to talk," I sang quietly to myself, lyrics from an old Pink Floyd song, early Tuesday morning as I headed to the polls to vote in a meaningless suburban election.
If ever there was an election to miss, this was it. An uncontested village president. A lone candidate for clerk. A solitary assessor. Three library trustees vying for three slots. Of 14 races, two, count 'em, two, fielded more candidates than offices.
Why waste the time? Why confuse my poor little dog? Her walnut brain, seeing the jacket go on, rejoiced: "A walk! A walk!" Why leave her at the front door, wilting, as I slip out the back at 6:20 a.m.? At that hour, there was no line. I was the first voter of the day, the only voter, with six election judges keeping a watchful eye as I made my satisfying fat green electronic check marks. Nobody arrived while I was there. Early voting is no doubt a factor. But still.
Because I've never missed voting in an election. Not once. My little sacrifice of time, some drops of routine life sprinkled on the altar of democracy. This act, making those marks, is what creates authority. Delegates power. Expresses the will of the people.
The will of some people. Two-thirds of eligible voters don't bother with local elections. Even in last November's epic presidential contest between a steely longtime politician and a thin-skinned newcomer, 40 percent of registered voters didn't see anything to get them off the couch to vote.
Were they right?
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