I was on vacation during the first week of June. That just happened to be the time an important election was taking place in my state. Because I wanted my voice to be heard, I made sure to vote by absentee ballot before I left. It was no big deal; the whole experience, including driving, took less than twenty minutes.
When I came home I was deluged with phone messages and brochures that had gone out just days before the election reminding me to vote and letting me know just who I should vote for. For the most part, I deleted and threw out with barely a glance or listen to what I was getting rid of. I was badly shaken, however, by one piece of mail. In an apparent effort to get out the vote, supporters for one of the candidates sent a letter telling us who in our neighborhood had voted in the last two elections. Their point was to shame people into realizing that more folks vote for the President than do for the local officials who oversee the laws that govern our day to day existence. Their goal was to get me to vote but the result achieved was to make me angry. My name appeared on that list. It told my neighbors just how many recent elections I had voted in (all of them). I felt violated. I am certainly not ashamed of being a voter but I don’t go door to door and announce it as this piece of paper did. I made a point of not looking at the other names listed. If the sweet guy across the street who has helped dig me out of my snow covered driveway more than once does not vote, I don’t want to know it. I certainly would never, ever embarrass him by mentioning it. In this country we have the right to vote. We have an equal right to not vote. If people are content with letting others make this important decision for them, I have no right to judge them. I strongly disagree with them. But this is a democracy and we maintain a right to vote or not as we so choose.
I know that the fact I voted is a matter of public record. But to have that public record used in an effort to embarrass me was horrifying. What’s next? Will I now be required to sign my ballots so that people can track how I vote? Will that information also appear in my neighbors’ mail box?
What are your thoughts? Am I over reacting? Or would you too be just a little bit offended by what occurred?
- Maggie AAR