If you have any problems voting today – said problems may include, but are not limited to, finding the polling place, voter intimidation, accessibility issues, voting machine problems, and provisional ballot issues – or if you witness anyone having these or any other problems, Election Protection has a toll-free line for you to call. It's 1.866.OUR.VOTE – or, if mnemonic devices such as "OUR VOTE" actually slow you down when you're trying to dial (as they do for me!), that's 1.866.687.8683. Don’t be skittish about making that call, because our enemies sure aren’t skittish about preventing you from voting.
Odd-numbered year elections don’t even get the respect that midterm elections do, but we will vote (or finish voting) in a lot of important elections today. Mississippi and Kentucky will elect Governors, while Pennsylvania will elect a new state Supreme Court judge and New Jersey and Virginia will elect entire legislatures; in both of these latter states, voters may tell us whether 15-week abortion bans are really more popular than six- or eight-week abortion bans. Voters in Ohio will vote on whether to enshrine abortion rights in their state constitution, and the fact that Donald Trump handily took Ohio twice seems unreflected in recent polling; Ohio voters will also vote on legalizing pot, same notation. And Maine will vote on whether to create a public power utility that can acquire private utility corporations, as well as seven other questions. And Republicans all over America will test their thesis that fearmongering about rising crime (remember, both violent and property crime are about half as bad as they were 30 years ago) will result in electoral gold, a thesis that did not exactly bear fruit for them in 2022 (especially in Pennsylvania!). So the fact that no Presidents or Congressfolk stand for election today doesn’t make this Election Day inconsequential.
And once again, remember that voting is a citizen's absolute minimum duty in America. This is our government, no matter how little it resembles a good government, and our duty as citizens is to make it a good government, first on Election Day, and then on every day thereafter. Still, our work on every day thereafter will be a lot harder if we don’t turn all the bad politicians out of office we can. And there are only bad reasons for not voting. Negative campaigning is an especially bad one – folks do realize politicians run negative campaigns in order to alienate voters and make them stay home, right? If you stay home, you can't vote against the bad people who want you to stay home! And cynicism about the state of the nation is not only a bad reason to stay home, it's a bad reason to do anything. Yes, things get discouraging. But I pray that we always have the strength to refuse to drink from the cup of cynicism.