An oxymoron--a figure of speech containing a contradiction in terms--the "absentee voter" is anything but absent from the political process. Better termed the overachieving voter, often these diligent citizens can make or break a candidate's future. In reality, absentees take an extra step in order to vote, securing their ballots by mail, in advance.
They vote long before the rest of the electorate, usually swiftly, within twenty four hours of receipt of the ballot. Who knew that the August primary actually begins in early July? A good friend who ran for office a few years ago won the election day vote on the street, but once the absentee ballots were tallied at the end, he was down by several hundred. Ergo, the power of the kitchen table voter.
Absentees aren't limited to the mature voter, although those folks carry alot of political weight on their own. College students, travelers, and the infirm vote unhurried in the privacy of their home.
Stepping onto the porch in the heat of early fall, a man seated held his hand up, halting my progress. "Uh oh" I thought. He pointed to two thin tan envelopes ready for the postal carrier. "No need to leave your literature young lady, you've got two votes in the mailbox." It felt like I'd just won an Oscar. I thanked him and moved on. One hundred and thirteen more of those envelopes could have changed the outcome.
Perhaps it's time to to give these folks their due? Maybe absentee voters should be called "super voters" from hence forth. Don't get me wrong, it's equally important to vote on election day, but it's no coincidence that the mailbox will be full of political ads this weekend.
There's still plenty of time to become an election super hero--the online application form for an absentee ballot is available on the Dearborn City Clerk's website. Check to see if you qualify.
The primary is August 7th.