Election 2016: Remember if You Voted Early You can’t take it Back

FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress on Friday, announcing that the bureau is taking another look at Hillary Clinton‘s personal email server “in connection with an unrelated case.”

The stunning development comes a month after Comey defended his decision not to prosecute Clinton for using a private email server for official State Department business, and just days before the general election on November 8.

The testaments of early voters are ringing through the nation like the ecstatic cries of tent revivalists.

They’ve voted, they wept, they felt the shivers of history in their bones.

I admire them, these citizens with their “I Voted Early” stickers on their chests and their #votedearly hashtags.

But I can’t join them.

To vote early or not to vote early? To me, that’s not a question.

I’ll vote on Election Day.

I’ll admit that I feel like a lazy citizen when I read the Facebook and Twitter reports from early voters, those hardy folk who are blazing the nation’s path to a new president. They’re the early birds catching the worm, while we Election Day voters are slugs snoring through the alarm.

I appreciate the early voters’ enthusiasm as they talk of long lines at the polling place and of their uplifting conversations with voters there, all of them waiting patiently and eagerly to stake their early political claim.

But their proselytizing falls on my deaf ears.

“Professional organizers vote early,” a professional organizer posted on Facebook.

“If you haven’t voted yet, please get your brain to the polls,” read another post. “I promise you the line you wait in this week will be nothing like the line you will wait in on November 8th. Come on! All the cool kids are voting early.”

I am neither cool nor organized, and so I wait.

vote-early_small-2 Election 2016: Remember if You Voted Early You can’t take it Back Voters

Election Day is an old-fashioned concept, though it may come as a surprise to learn that it’s not as old-fashioned as early voting.

When the country was founded, and Americans lived in far-flung rural settlements, voting was held over several days, which gave people time to travel to their voting place. But in 1845, that custom gave way to a single presidential election day in November. After that, Americans were expected to vote, come sleet, snow, illness or child care problems on a Tuesday, of all the inconvenient days.

Early voting, without a doubt, is more convenient, and convenience makes voting more accessible to more people. Most states now have some version of it that can be done without submitting an excuse, and its popularity has grown fast in recent years.

Still, many of us like the custom of hoofing over to the neighborhood library, school lunchroom or firehouse on our shared, designated Tuesday.

When I asked other Election Day die-hards why they won’t vote early, they said things like “It just feels right” and “I like to follow tradition” and “I’m kind of a romantic. I like walking in that day, then waiting for the results that night.”

To those explanations, I might add: masochism.

I approach voting the way I approach writing, at the last minute.

I like the risk of being up against the deadline, the sense, as the clock ticks, of knowing “Oh, now this matters.” I like waking up on Election Day and plotting when I’ll make it to the polls, worried that I won’t, knowing that I will.

Why relax when you can sweat?

I’ve heard some early voters say that now that they’ve voted they can tune out partisan political yammering. I empathize with the goal but doubt they’ll achieve it, which is another reason not to vote until Election Day.

The yammering won’t go away so you may as well kid yourself that it’s useful right up until you mark your ballot.

Besides, I’m willing to delay the gratification of voting for the gratification of learning the results almost as soon as I do.

I don’t mean to discourage anyone from voting early.

That way, when we Election Day die-hards go to the polls, we won’t have to wait.