Like the start of an electronic page in Microsoft Word, I am as blank as this (original) canvas anticipating today's Election Day. It is the first time I am not entirely sure of my plans other than to get up early, pre-work, to cast my ballot in what will be my (gasp!) 32nd election. And I have a feeling, in my indecisiveness, I am not alone.
As a child, I remember that visit to the polling station, and my mother's encouraging approval to enter the booth to watch her cast her vote. Those booths were big gray machines with the "slide across" handle to close the curtains and open them again. I was fascinated how the process went, from signature, to booth to levers and as I grew, the "big gray" and the elementary school that housed it seemed smaller and smaller with each visit.
Since those early years, it's been three residents and three elementary schools later – sometimes holding the conviction of my vote in my heart and mind, sometimes "selecting the lesser of two evils" among candidates. But no matter what, I was with my fellow citizens, standing on the lines, pulling those levers on those November days.
At the time of this writing on Oct. 30, the Marist College poll reports that Andrew Cuomo holds a 19 point lead over Carl Paladino, 56 percent to 37 percent; Sen. Charles Schumer leads his Republican opponent Jay Townsend 60% to 36%; and the closest race is the one between Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Joe DioGuardi, 55% to 40%. But the numbers can tell just so much.
The greatest concern is when the numbers large and small keep the voters from turning out – thinking their votes won't have impact. Just try to apply that logic after Florida in 2000 when 537-vote victory propelled George W. Bush to the presidency. Yes, it's worth reminding again -- every vote counts.
This year, New Yorkers especially have a lot of voting to do – two senators, one governor, numerous congressional and state representatives. It's a lot of people and issues to reconcile -- especially tough but especially vital. Fortunately, one thought remains clear. The responsibility to vote today is critical and thanks to our opportunities in a democracy it never gets old.