I arrived at the Argyle Village Hall just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning to cast my vote in the fall general election.
It was the first time I voted in Argyle, so I had to register. Village clerk Sandy Flannery helped me through the registration process in less than five minutes. I had brought my Wisconsin Driver's License and a copy of a recent utility bill.
The voting itself was held in the library portion of the hall and there were three friendly poll workers on hand to make certain I signed in properly and then used the village's electronic voting machine properly. When I was done and my ballot had been cast, I was given an "I voted" sticker and told that if I'd like a piece of candy, I could have one before I left. (I had been voter No. 33 in Argyle and later in the day my wife had been voter No. 144. She said getting the sticker and a piece of candy was fun and reminded her of what kids get when they do something right in kindergarten. This is something my wife knows a lot about because she's been a teacher for the past 21 years.)
Argyle is a very friendly village and with about three people standing in line to vote, there was kind banter between the folks during their short wait.
Voting is a civic duty and last week The Monroe Times ran an editorial that didn't endorse candidates or referendums. We pointed out how people of different political persuasions may view voting. People have begun once again to understand how important each and every vote has become.
When looking at the 2016 presidential election, polls prior to the election failed to paint a correct picture of what was going to happen. Hillary Clinton was predicted to win by as much as 6 percentage points. Come election day, Donald Trump earned the Electoral College votes necessary to become president. He won fairly and had a broad base of support among conservative voters and moderate voters seeking change in key states.
Politics has always been, and continues to be some very nasty business. Attack advertising outweighs positive advertising in elections. It's tiresome to constantly hear the same negative messages. The Citizens United decision allowed corporations and individuals to anonymously throw as much cash at elections as possible. The messages they send often include deliberate misinformation.
If you voted on Tuesday -- or voted early or absentee voted -- I thank you. If not, I urge you to try and avoid the apathy that accompanies elections and join in the process. It doesn't matter what your politics are. My grandfather never cast a party vote. He always voted for who he considered was the best person for the job.
There were no major surprises in Tuesday's election. First, you have to be thankful to the candidates for taking that step to serve their fellow man and sticking out their neck to be judged by voters. It's not an easy thing. Second, you have to be thankful to our municipalities for being prepared to handle elections, organize poll workers, and for everyone who is involved in the process of ensuring we have fair and honest elections. Third, let's be thankful for statesmanship, which our nation needs more of and what can bridge the gap between the polarized sides of our two-party system. Statesmanship involves the participation of the voters.
The Monroe Times carried comprehensive pre-election coverage to help readers inform themselves and make decisions on who would best represent their interests. There's something firm about seeing such election information in print..
We're proud to be part of the process of sharing information on candidates, referendums and other ballot questions. We support an active citizenry in elections no matter what their politics. Voting is important. Learning about the candidates is important. And by participating, you're being respectful of all of the sacrifices that have been made to allow us the freedom to vote.