Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

Too late to be early?

By Bill Gray

By BILL GRAY

Mt. Pleasant News

Are you too late to be early? Well, let’s not be sticklers and say it’s still early enough.

To be categorized as an early voter, that is. Ballot-casting is well under way in beautiful Henry County, Iowa, as well as the rest of our wonderful state – which explains why Presidential candidates, their wives, their vice presidential candidates and their vice presidential candidates’ wives keep showing up here.

Even our U.S. Senators, even though they’re not running this year, and even though they’ve been so busy doing important things – uh, wait a moment – has Congress actually done anything this year? Strike that “important things” thing – both Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin are out and about shaking hands and talking your ears off.

Not only is Iowa the place where the entire Presidential picking process starts – this time, we’re clearly labeled by the poll makers and pundits (By the way:  Is “pundit” a name you’d want to be known by in your career?) as a – drum roll, please – Swing State! Despite this label, I’ve really seen little evidence that our politicians know how to swing any more than Nebraskans, Minnesotans or Missourians – then again, we are the birthplace of Bix Beiderbecke; he was more jazz than swing, though; and I digress.

But it’s tough to stay focused on the presidential race or voting when it appears Election Day now is elongated from the end of September through Tuesday, Nov. 6. I suppose that’s good, though, because it should allow more people to vote, yes?

In Henry County as well as elsewhere in Iowa, there appears to be a stronger correlation between issues and the popularity of candidates and voter turnout than there has been between turnout and efforts to make voting easier. Don’t you think if no one running for local or state office had opposition, turnout would be lower even if there was a Presidential race heading the ballot?

Maybe it wouldn’t matter if the candidates raised the excitement level to the point of a Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. Now here’s an idea to improve voter turnout: Since the vice presidential job is basically hanging out for four years and banging a gavel only a couple of times in the Senate – why not nominate celebrities as veep candidates? And not those who are politically aggressive, like your George Clooneys or your Ted Nugents – more like your Justin Timberlakes or your Jessica Simpsons, who wouldn’t put any Presidential candidate in danger by trying to handle a policy question –

— But darn it, they’d be able to sit there and just look good. Folks just might vote for that, especially if they keep their mouths shut and just smile pretty!