10 Reasons You Should Vote Absentee

by ChristyGriffin

Voting via absentee ballot removes many obstacles that may prevent people from voting. Here are 10 reasons people might not vote and why absentee voting can be the solution.

Each election a portion of registered voters do not exercise their civic duty. Of the 146 million people registered to vote at the time of the November 2008 election, only 131 million actually voted.

Each month the U.S. Census Bureau surveys households for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The results of this comprehensive survey, called the Current Population Survey (CPS), provides among other things the official unemployment rate for the country. During election years, the CPS includes a Voting and Registration Supplement to document voter and non-voter trends and characteristics. The November 2008 CPS results gave insight on why 15 million registered voters did not vote. The majority of reasons given could have been solved by voting via absentee ballot.

Absentee voting means instead of voting at a polling place, you fill out a ballot at home and then mail it in after having your signature witnessed or notarized. Check with your state or county election board for absentee voting requirements.

1.) Inconvenient Polling Location

Two percent of registered non-voters surveyed in the November 2008 CPS cited this reason for not voting. Convenience is not a problem if you are casting your ballot from home.

2.) Transportation Problems

Another two percent of non-voters gave this reason for not participating. Car problems or lack of will not deter an absentee voter.

3.) Forgetfulness

Two percent gave this excuse. With an absentee ballot you can stick it on your refrigerator or hang it next to your computer screen until you have a moment to fill it out. Just don't stick it in a drawer and forget about it.

4.) Out of Town

Making a list of things to do before leaving on a trip? Add "fill out ballot and mail" to your list so you don't end up like the eight percent surveyed who gave this reason.

5.) Ill, Disabled or Family Emergency

This reason was offered by 15 percent of respondents. Although emergencies are understandable, absentee voting enables the ill or disabled to participate in the democratic process with ease.

6.) Bad weather

Although less than one percent of those surveyed indicated this reason for not voting, it's still a good reason to vote absentee. Don't let rain, sleet nor heat keep you from exercising your civic duty.

7.) Too Busy / Conflicting Work or School Schedules

This, at 18 percent, was the largest defense for not voting given in the CPS. You fill out the absentee ballot on your own time at your own pace. Take advantage of a minute of free time here and there to fill out your ballot. Before you know it, it will be ready to mail.

8.) Lack of Child Care

If you have ever tried to navigate a voting booth with a stroller or waited in line at the polls with a cranky child, absentee voting is both a luxury and a necessity.

9.) Make More Informed Decisions

There's that moment in the polling booth when you realize you know nothing about the issue or race you are about to decide on. Don't resort to flipping a coin, vote at home. When you vote absentee, you can take the time to research each issue and candidate and make well informed decisions.

10.) Military Service

If you or your spouse are currently on active military duty, odds are you are no stranger to frequent moves. The good news is this is not an impediment to voting. In fact, the large number of soldiers serving far from home during the Civil War was the impetus for many states to enact legislation allowing absentee voting in the first place.
Updated: 06/14/2012, ChristyGriffin
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