Fri, Jul 25, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

The Universal Notebook: Undecided? Unbelievable

Opinion

The Universal Notebook: Undecided? Unbelievable

If you are reading this in The Forecaster print newspaper, everything has been decided, unless of course the Obama-Romney race was too close to call and is at this very moment being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, in which case Romney wins.

If you are reading it online, it may be Election Day or the day before, in which case never mind.

I am writing this column five days before the election. I suppose I could have voted by now, but I am not a big fan of early voting. I’m also not a big fan of undecided voters. Allow me to explain.

It used to be that you needed a darn good reason to vote by absentee ballot, but these days close to half the electorate in some places vote before Election Day. I took absentee ballots to my daughter in college and to my father in a nursing home, but I did not take one out for myself. In fact, when I returned my daughter’s ballot to Town Hall, I could have voted on the spot. A conference room had been set up as an early voting place. But I prefer to line up with everyone else on Election Day.

There is very little likelihood anything will happen in the final few days to change my vote this time, but back in 2010, realizing that Democrat Libby Mitchell’s gubernatorial campaign had tanked and independent Eliot Cutler was surging, I changed my mind at the last minute and voted for Cutler in hopes of sparing Maine the wrath and reign of Paul Lepage. LePage’s slim margin of victory in 2010 could have been erased if so many moderates and liberals hadn’t voted early.

I did, however, give serious thought to voting early this year, because there were no prospects of triangulating my vote. I was Obama, Angus, Chellie, Woodbury, Cooper and Yes on 1 all the way. On the other hand, seeing people voting a week ahead of time, it did occur to me that my votes would be lost if somehow I couldn’t get to the polls on Nov. 6.

What if I were called out of town on an emergency? What if I got sick or injured? What if I died? (Note to Maine Republican Party: The dead can vote if they vote early enough. Maybe your next voter suppression effort should be to invalidate absentee ballots if voters die before Election Day.)

There was a lot of loose talk the week before the election about the Maine GOP sending poll watchers to strategic polling places – college towns, immigrant communities – to challenge same-day voter registrations in an attempt to intimidate voters. I’m hoping and assuming that didn’t happen.

There have only been two documented cases of voter fraud in Maine in the past 40 years. This is America, Jim-Bob, Land of the Frickin’ Free. We should be encouraging people to vote, not trying to prevent them from voting. Personally, I believe anyone who is living in America on Election Day should be allowed to vote whether they are American citizens or not. But hey, that’s just me.

Which brings me to my beef with undecided voters.

Undecided? How ignorant or uninformed do you have to be not to have made your mind up between Obama and Romney a week, a month, even a year before Election Day? The differences between the two men are not subtle. It’s like deciding between climbing a mountain and jumping off a cliff.

Undecided? What late-breaking news, what straw that broke the camel’s back, what wild fabrication or slip of the tongue might persuade a weak-minded voter to change his/her vote at the last minute? Obama’s father was really a Commie radical and not an African Muslim after all? Romney really does wear magic Mormon underwear and believes Jesus arrived on Earth in a rocket ship? What info, Dear Undecided Voter, was missing?

The fact that Obama and Romney were essentially battling right up until the end for the 10 percent of voters who were undecided forces me to conclude that, no matter who wins or may already have won, the fate of this nation is now decided by nincompoops.