Today's the day.
You may think your vote isn't going to be the one that makes the difference. Someone's will be. Nobody ever goes and figures out whose vote put the winner over the top, but someone's vote had to be the one. Maybe it'll be yours.
Take that chance. Vote.
Maybe it won't be the Presidential race. 538 is giving Obama 92% odds of victory as it stands now. That still leaves 8% for Romney. It's a slim chance, but it's not certain.
Have you been following the downballot races? You should be. Contrary to how most people think as they go into the booth, the more downballot the race, the more direct an effect it will have on your life. The President, for instance, MIGHT make some sort of policy that affects your child's school. Your school board WILL make a whole bunch of policies that affect your child's school.
Cover those bases. Vote.
And the downballot races are more likely, statistically, to result in that mythical one-vote difference. It's never exactly likely, but it happens, and it's more likely to happen when you get down to the races where only a few hundred people- or even under a hundred in some cases- are voting. And if those odds aren't good enough yet, drag a family member or a friend into the polls with you. Two-vote and three-vote and four-vote margins happen as well.
Do you not like the candidates? You had your chance to fix that in the primaries. That's when you make your true preferences known. That was the elimination round. This is the championship final. Your team may not be in the running anymore. Oh well. Now it's about making the best of the situation you've been handed. Take a third party if it bothers you that much.
Do you think you're sending some sort of message by not voting? Well, you are. The message you're sending is, 'I am an unreliable vote and my opinion should be discounted accordingly in favor of people who actually do turn up to vote. You are free to ignore me completely if you wish no matter how much I scream about being a citizen and a taxpayer and an American. If I scream about being a voter, please slap me upside the head, because I'm NOT a voter. I had my chance to be a voter and I threw it in the garbage. So, yeah, nothing to see over here.'
Do you think your vote won't matter because all the candidates look the same? I'm not even going to bother arguing that they're not the same this late in the game. What I will say is that even if they look the same to you, they don't look the same to someone you know. Find out who they'd rather have.
Then vote for their sake.
You may be "informed" that, to cut down on congestion at the polling precincts, one party votes today and the other votes tomorrow. These people are lying. That's an old, old, ancient trick used to try and fool their opponents into staying home. Everyone votes today.
You may be "warned"- and some of you have- about the penalties for voter fraud, including prison time and a big fine. This is a scare tactic designed to get you afraid to vote for fear of going to prison- and there are calls that go out directly telling people that voting will lead to their arrest. Do not buy into any of this. Voter fraud is vanishingly rare to the point of near-nonexistence, and to commit it, you have to vote more than once or tamper with some other person's vote or do something that goes way out of your way to pull off.
You may be scared off by the weather. It might look icky out today. I have no sympathy for you. Here is a picture of a person who has cast their vote for 2012 from the South Pole. They have worse weather down there than you do. And they're further from their polling place than you are.
'But I was victimized by Hurricane Sandy,' you say? Okay, well, you have a bit of an issue there. If you're a New Yorker, at least, governor Andrew Cuomo has got you covered. Don't even bother with your regular polling place if you can't get there. Just find ANY polling place, any polling place in the state, and you'll be fine. New Jerseyites, you're being permitted to vote by e-mail. Or fax. I doubt you have a fax, but there you go. Pretty sure you have e-mail, or can find someone who does.
Do you not know where your polling place is? That's easy to find out and there are plenty of places that will be happy to let you know. If you've been told your polling place has changed, it could very well be a trick intended to get you away from your actual voting place.
Vote. Show up at your regular voting place first.
Perhaps you are worried that you cant find enough time in the day to vote. I have little sympathy for you, especially if you're in a place with early or absentee voting. Here in Wisconsin, you've had weeks to vote. You're telling me you couldn't find a single small stretch of time to head down to City Hall in weeks? I don't buy it. Besides, your employer, if need be, is required to give you time to vote if you need it.
Are the lines too long? Yeah, I'll bet they are. That's not exactly your fault. Some of the states- Ohio and Florida in particular- did that on purpose specifically to discourage you from voting. Do not let them push you around like that, or they're going to conclude that it worked, and they'll make it even harder for you next time.
Do not let them silence you. Vote.
Are you worried that the day is getting late and you're still in line? According to election law, you're fine as long as you stay put. If you are in line before the polls close, they have to let you stick around to vote as long as you continue to remain in line.
Do not leave the line. Vote.
Are you unaware of the voter-ID laws in force? I wouldn't be overly shocked. If in doubt, play it safe and haul every piece of ID you can scrounge up to the polls, and just start showing them until something works.
If you think you've been screwed out of your vote, there are people you can call that will raise holy hell in the media or with the Federal Elections Commission. Go find their numbers. If you've previously been told you may not be allowed to vote, go anyway. Make them tell you in person, and then raise hell.
Try to vote.
I do not care what your excuse is. I do not care what difficulties you have. I don't care what threat you have received. There are procedures in place to smooth out just about any difficulty in voting you could possibly have. There was one guy, a World War 2 veteran, who voted on his deathbed. You can drag yourself out of your bed.
This election is too important not to.