The kid was not quite old enough to vote in 2016, much to his distress. When he was younger, I would sometimes take him with me when I voted, so he was properly indoctrinated. 2020 is his first time voting for a president, so he has at least one positive thing to look back on in 2020, if you are of the mind that the right to vote is a cool thing, no matter what else may be going on.
If you are not of that mind, get out. I have no time for your foolishness.
He is away at school, and as a sidenote, I must give a huge shoutout to SUNY New Paltz, which has what I consider rock star COVID status with a 0.23% infection rate. It also probably helps that many of the students come from the NYC area, so unlike some of their less experienced peers who think COVID is something to use as a drinking game, they know how real this is. This soapbox moment/PSA brought to you by the blogger who worked in hospital communications during the spring surge and isn’t quite over it.
So the kid gets his absentee ballot before I get my mail in one, and he texts me questions. “What’s a Register of Probate?” Hmmm. I know probate is the thing you want to keep your estate out of when you die, otherwise it will be tied up for years. But I don’t want to give wrong info, so I look it up. In Massachusetts, probate handles wills, estates, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, and changes of name.
I tell him, and he says he doesn’t know any of the 3 people running, and so we talk about the candidates. The incumbent lives in the town we lived in for 15 years and he’s been in office most of that time. I usually vote for him based on that scant endorsement. Because, let’s face it, I will passionately talk about the right to vote, and then turn around and be a lazy voter for the offices that don’t seem important. But that’s not that much better than not voting, right? Every office is important to someone, and just because the office may not directly affect me right now, doesn’t mean I get to dial it in.
The kid’s curiosity and due diligence taught this old voter a lot.
The second name I recognize from when I wasn’t so lazy in the last election. She was one of a number of people running for city council, so I had looked them all up. I had learned then she is a Trump supporter, although she runs as an independent. She didn’t get on the city council, and I’m not helping her get a foothold in probate. Not in my state and city, sweetheart. We look up the third person and it takes a bit of digging, but we manage to find her statement on a bipartisan website created for that purpose. Her statement is thoughtful, intelligent, and lays out what is currently not working well in probate, how Massachusetts lags behind other states in reform, and how her experience could help fix it. Very illuminating.
Then we talked about our state representative. The incumbent has been in office too long and is not very progressive despite being a democrat. The person we really liked was not able to beat the incumbent in the state primary. But there is an independent challenger on the ballot. So we look him up and while he’s very young, he has a solid platform based on health care for all. My kid says he sounds good, but he probably won’t win, so hesitates to vote for him. I tell him that running for office can be a long game and that voting for him may help encourage him to keep at it. It can also make the incumbent pay more attention if the challenger gets a decent number of votes.
We had already had previously discussed the 2 ballot questions, which he educated me on.
And with that he was ready to vote. And this veteran voter got a good reminder that it’s not enough to show up and vote for the big races. I need have a plan to vote and have a plan for actually voting for all the offices. My ballot has been mailed in and accepted.
Now I just need to to have a post-election plan, but let’s jump off one bridge at a time, shall we?