Election Day

Melissa Stagnaro

I made my trek to the wilds of Smithville at 6 a.m. this morning to cast my Election Day ballot. Despite the controversy surrounding the presidential candidates, the polling station at the Community Center was calm and serene.

It was with an audible sigh of relief that I pulled the handle to reopen the current, confident that my vote had been recorded and that once this day is over we can all move on.

By the time I wake up tomorrow morning, this heated, all-consuming presidential race will be decided. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is ready for campaign season to be done and dusted. All that presidential politics and mudslinging has served to distract us from all sorts of other issues. And I can’t help feeling that the process has been a drain on our county’s financial resources.

While that campaigning does pour money into certain sectors of the economy (like marketing and advertising), I can’t help feeling that all of those contributions could have been better spent in local communities.

It’s not just the never-ending campaign trail that I don’t like. There is another aspect of our political/electoral system of which I am not a fan. The antiquated, outdated system which is the object of my disdain? The Electoral College.

I’m sure our founding fathers felt that they were doing the best thing for  our fledgling nation when they instituted the Electoral College. But times are different now. When our country was formed, infrastructure was poor and communication was difficult. Most people were undereducated and under-informed. Today, we topple the scales in the other direction. But Electoral College remains the same, a buffer which means that technically Americans don’t select their leader by popular vote.

While I am discouraged by this, I don’t let it stop me from going to the polls on Election Day. I still feel that, even watered down by the system, my vote still counts.
Today I cast my vote for the candidates of my choosing, with no regard for what levers the next person who occupied that voting booth would push down.

I did it with the hope that when the dust settles tomorrow, our elected officials will get off the campaign trails and finally return to their jobs of running this foundering nation.

And I’ll continue to nurture my little pipe-dream, hoping that some day we’ll see a little reform when it comes to campaign contributions, un-checked campaign spending and the Electoral College.