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PSANovember 2, 2005

So California's having this special election on November 8th. I hadn't been paying attention, I was just waiting for my absentee ballot to show up in the mail (in California you can register permanent-absentee, and there is NO excuse not to. Laziness at its finest. Your ballot shows up a few weeks prior to the election, you read it in bed, you vote using the pen you find by rummaging in the nightstand drawer, and pop it in the mailbox. No driving to the ballot-box, no dealing with traffic and lines, just you and your mailbox).

It wasn't until this week that I realized how close the election was to being here, and that I hadn't seen my ballot yet. Then I realized the awful truth - I had moved at this time last year, having already mailed my ballot right before the move. So when I did move, it didn't register (heh) that I should update my mailing address. Mail forwarding has, of course, been halted a year later, and I realized that I wouldn't be getting my absentee form, and because I'm permanent absentee, I have no polling place.

Here's my admission:

I had decided I wouldn't vote.

For the first time in my adult voting life, fifteen or so years, I wouldn't vote. It was only a little state election, no one would notice. I felt twangs of guilt that I tamped down by walking into another room and forgetting what I'd been thinking about. That's not hard for me to do. Wait. What were we talking about?

But it was niggling, and then I was made aware (thanks, MC!) of what exactly Prop 73 was about - it proposes to force teen girls to tell parents/guardians before gaining the permission to get an abortion. Guess what? It sounds like a fine idea - it would be right and good if a scared girl felt comfortable talking to her mother, telling Mom that not only was she sexually active, but she was also pregnant. But it won't happen. Girls WON'T talk to their parents, they'll go online and find ways out, and California will be facing a coat-hanger epidemic. Young girls get pregnant. They have abortions. No matter how you feel about the rightness or wrongness of that, those two facts won't change. What will change is their level of safety in California if this passes.

According to polls, it's a close one, and it's GOING to pass, tragically, with only six percent separation. You know it's not the liberals who get out there to vote on things like this, it's the conservatives that get off their butts and get out there to the polling place.

And I was almost one of the liberals who couldn't be bothered. THIS close. I called the registrar of voters in my county this afternoon (phone number easily found online) and screamed at the startled office worker, "HELP ME! Can I still vote? Please please please?" They said sure, come on down to the office and you can vote here.

If you don't know where to go, call your registrar. Unless your state/city isn't having a November election, in which case, just make sure you're registered for next time and then get yourself some ice cream and pat yourself on the back. Me, I'm going down to the office on Friday afternoon, and I'm voting.

It was so close! I was almost a non-voting loser! Whew.

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Comments

Good for you!! That's a super-important one... I sat in on the debates when parental notificatino came up in the CT legislature, and it was just incredibly impassioned. But the legislators all had to show up & vote (or look bad to their constituents), so it wasn't up to busy people to vote.

Good for you! Especially to vote on something this important. I wish more liberals (well more people in general) would take advantage of laws like California's and Washington state's (and probably other states) and sign up for permanent absentee instead of just not bothering. It seems to me that if everyone voted, we'd have a different government in this country....

Maybe I'm just weird, but I *like* going to the polling place and having a nice little old lady give me a ballot. And then standing in the little boothy thing filling in my bubbles. I guess it makes voting feel more important because I have to stop what I'm doing (not easy for a workaholic) and walk over to the school near my house to vote. TMK

Yep, pain in the ass though it be, this one is important. I finally did sign up to be a permanent absentee voter after years of feeling like showing up and rubbing elbows with my neighbors was part of the democratic experience that I needed. Absentee voters tend to actually vote, so it's a good idea. In fact, I think tonight's activity is the voting...

It's better to vote and lose, than not to vote at all. No matter which way you go. I'm glad your conscience was niggling. heh

I'm proud of you. Yes, you NEED to bring your liberal self to the registrar's office and vote. Bless you.

Good for you! They did something on KQED the other day about how turnout will be kind of low for this, since there aren't any statewide candidates on the ballot. I'm definitely voting on Tuesday - my polling place is a fairly short walk from my house, and I'm sure there won't be a line like there was last year.

I only wish I could vote in California. You pretty much covered all my own personal thoughts on this issue. It still amazes me that people think young pregnant teens who would even consider abortion as a viable choice for themselves would actually go and chat with Mom and Dad about it first. Dare I say that if those lines of communication were more open in the first place, the girl would have been more aware/more vigilant about using contraceptive devices?

Indeed. You are *so* not a loser.

Good on you. Voting can be a pain sometimes, but you're so right ... we gotta do it.

Yay voter! Making yourself heard is one of the few great responsilibities we adults have.

Good for you! I'm totally voting next week. Now I just need to figure out what the issues are. *guilty face* Love your sweater from the last post--truly impressive.

Good for you. I always like going to the polling place and standing in line and all, makes me feel like an active participant in democracy, but if the permanent-absentee thing gets more people to vote it's a fantastic thing. (I confess I've kind of been disappointed that my state doesn't have any elections this year for me to vote in!)

Okay - You had me panicking there...I franticallly skipped to the bottom...Thanks for voting. Life is good again.

yay! i'm glad you're voting. in this climate of wacked out wackiness every friggin' non-conservative has got to vote. the future of our country, and our world depends upon it. if you hadn't gone, i would have poked you with a knitting needle, over the internet of course.

and i love going to my polling place to vote. i feel as if i'm accomplishing something. i don't think i would get that sense of accomplishment if i voted in my bed.

I like voting in person too but I am so irritated by this special election that I'm gonna vote no on everything as a form of protest

Thank you for voting this Prop down!

In reference to a few other folks comments: Actually, about 70% of young women discuss their decision to have an abortion with a parent or adult family member. (Sorry, I used to work for NARAL and still spout the stats.)

The rest? The 30% or so? They have a good reason for keeping quiet.

I'm so glad Melissa posted those stats. And I'm so glad you're not breaking your voting streak. Mwah!

And it's definitely that 30% for whom we need to get out the vote.

You had me freaking out that voting was today ;)
This election is just stuffed with conservative/corpocrat initiatives, it's a bit scary.

May you be rewarded with "I'm pro choice and I vote" bumperstickers!

I know exactly whatcha mean about prop 73. My thought process started out with, well, a frank discussion with parents is a nice thing. But then I realized some parents'd beat the shit outta the kid if she told 'em, and so, she'd find other ways to do the abortion-thing. Anything that limits our freedoms scares me. It scares me that people're gonna vote this into existence. People seem to hates freedom these days, 'specially if it's freedom for the female half of our species.

Good for you! You're not a loser non-voteer; you, my friend, are a winner! :)

I believe Oregon had a similar issue on the ballot about 15 years ago, and I felt the same way. Actually, that's the way I feel about abortion, period. Go ahead, make it illegal, that won't stop it. It'll only make it dangerous. Is it really pro-life to force us into jeopordizing the woman's life as well?

I am always impressed how your knit blog confidantly and comfortably talks politics every now-and-again. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in socks and whatnot, but you managed to bring up bigger issues without sounding patronizing or ranty- thanks so much for the reality check.

*And* it's actually a Constitutional amendment proposition. They're trying to WRITE INTO THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION that pregnant teenagers will have to tell their parents before getting an abortion. Sorry about the shouting, that one just really got to me.

Good for you. I had a similar moment. I forgot that there was an election, but saw these crazy people driving around with soaped on "Marriage is between a man and woman." Believe me, that got my attention, and I made sure I was registered and could get out to vote this week. Crazy people trying to get in the way of people's happiness. Unfortunately I think this marriage amendment is going to pass regardless of my vote. I mean, it is Texas, and look at our track record. Sigh.

Thank you for posting this. Molly Ivins had a column a couple of years ago when Tex*s had the same bright idea, and she pointed out that there's a significant number of girls whose parents or guardians are super unfit for commenting: in jail, on drugs or implicated in the pregnancy.

That's who you're helping with your vote. Rock on, Rachel.

Glad you were able to vote. I just did, too. And I thought about your absentee system, which sounds like a dream, except I guess you don't get "I voted" stickers then. Why am I such a sucker for the stickers? I keep patting my sticker to make sure it's still on. :)

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