I'm chickening out this year.
Last year I took Mom to a wheelchair-accessible polling place a week before the election. That gave us plenty of time to find it, park in a wheelchair-accessible spot, walk upstairs, stand in line, and go through the ballot while in the booth.
I did all this so she could vote for George Bush and cancel out my vote--definitely above and beyond the call of duty.
However, I felt that voting in a presidential election was important to keep her as mentally tuned in as possible. She did so well with the voting for various candidates that I decided to let her go through the propositions on the ballot, something we hadn't prepared for. I gave her a word-or-two summary of each one and let her mark yes or no.
"This one's a school bond--you want to support schools, don't you? Okay. The next one is money for public health. You were a public health nurse; I know you want that one."
This must have annoyed the heck out of the other voters, but I didn't care.
It took so long to get to and from this voting event that I missed a dentist appointment.
All in all, I decided to order an absentee ballot for her this year.
When I sat down with her to help her fill it out and sign it, however, a problem arose.
She had received a flyer in the mail saying, "Annoy Gray Davis--Vote 'Yes' on 77."
Somehow that flyer was at hand after she laboriously signed her name on the envelope for the ballot and was about to start marking the ballot.
"I'm going to vote yes on 77," she announced, completely unaware of what 77 might be about.
It's about redistricting, and I wasn't going to try explaining that one to her; besides, she probably would want to vote for it if she were in her right (Republican) mind.
Actually, I don't care if she votes yes on 77, but I care a lot about Prop. 75, another Schwarzeneggian proposition, which would reduce the financial power of public unions and thus the power of Democrats.
So I quickly handed her the ballot instruction booklet and told her to go down the list and mark yes or no on each of the propositions.
She marked "yes" on all of them, which caused me to reflect: do all voters who don't understand a list of items on a ballot tend to vote "yes"?
Or is it just Mom? Does voting "yes" feel positive and give warm vibes to the soul? "I am a good person. I avoid conflict."
I don't know, but I took the real ballot home, marked "no" on all the propositions designed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, and will drop it off at her polling place today.