Vote early, vote often

Next Tuesday, November 7, is election day in the United States. In addition to midterm elections, balloting will decide a number of state and local offices, initiatives, referendums, and propositions.

Readers in other countries are encouraged to pester American expatriate friends to send in their absentee ballots if they haven't already.

A number of states offer vote-by-mail balloting, and at least one conducts voting entirely by mail. If you haven't mailed your ballot yet, get to the post office! Some states requires the ballot to be postmarked by election day, while others require the ballot to be received on election day.

Washington State residents should note that our ballot is so fat that it requires 63 cents postage instead of the usual 39 cents; postage may be saved by dropping off ballots at your local polling station.

For the rest of you who have chosen to vote in person, plan to take time on Tuesday to stop by a polling station. If your state offers mail-in or absentee ballots, consider registering to vote by mail. It is much nicer to site at home, looking over the voter's pamphlet and weighing arguments over your favorite beverage, than it is to stand in a cold busy voting booth and rush through the ballot.

The phrase "vote early and vote often" is attributed to Chicago gangster Al Capone, but we'll put a positive spin on the matter: Vote early, so you have time to consider your choices, and vote often in your life, but only once per election.

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