Monday, November 3, 2008

Take it from "Les Miserables"

At the very end of Act One in the musical "Les Miserables," the protagonists are prepared to battle one another at the barricades. The student revolutionaries are joined on stage by the beleaguered Jean Valjean who is relentessly pursued by the malevolent police inspector Javert. Valjean's ward -- his daughter Marius -- has smitten one of the idealistic students, Marius, who must decide as to whether he will join his fellow students or seek out her love. Meanwhile, Eponine, the daughter of the cutthroat thief Thernadier, pines for Marius, hoping he'll notice her. The students, led by Enjolras, wave a red flag in the background as the voices of the hopeful rise in harmony proclaiming "Tomorrow we'll discover what our God has in store! One more dawn! One more day! One day more!" It is riveting theatre and among the most powerful onstage moments in a Broadway musical. It is much the same in the political theatre today. The two presidential candidates are jetsetting across the country trying to haul in as many votes in the traditional red or blue states, but in reality they are just trying to innervate the electorate. Voting lines should be very long tomorrow, but the election is so important to the future of this nation that I can't imagine too many people complaining excessively. Well, there will be voter irregularities. There always are. Make sure that your votes count. Don't wear campaign buttons, paraphenalia, or shirts that may contain logos or the names of candidates. It might be considered electioneering and could be cause for poll workers to prevent your voting. Carry I.D. with you and be prepared to prove to poll workers that you are who you say you are. Proper identification is usually a driver's license, U.S. passport, or state-issued I.D. card. Don't think anything less will be considered valid. Wherever you may be, check out in advance to whom you need to report voting irregularities or fraud. Call them right away and, if you have a cell phone, do so within moments of voting as close to the polling place as you can without being inside. It is important that you document any problems and, if you can do so without inviting injury from others, ask if any other witnesses are willing to come forward as well. Here's the link for the Louisiana Secretary of State, whose office is in charge of elections. Use common sense and don't make a scene. If you feel intimidated or threatened, remove yourself from the polling place immediately and alert authorities. So, one more day! One day more! I hope this real life Act Two turns out better than it did in Les Miserables.

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