I voted early. But not just to get it over with.

Here's why I voted early:

…after Election Day, after the votes are counted, after half of America celebrates, and the other half of America sips the bitters, and the third half of America is suddenly no longer undecided

The County Board of Elections will take a look at one number: the percentage of voters who chose to vote early. And they will think, "Huh. That's a big number. Such a big number confirms that people want alternative ways and times for voting.

According to today's Columbus Dispatch, more than 35,000 people in Franklin County have voted early.

While I'm voting for my candidates and my sides of state and local issues, I am also implicitly voting for alternative ways to vote.

But What About "Election Day"
Some friends have said that we shouldn't fool with Election Day: that Election Day comes but once a year. And there is something magical about voting all together, all on one day.

I agree. I love voting in the basement of the Bexley United Methodist Church. It's a Norman Rockwell experience. Every year is the same. I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog's Day. Within five places in line at the 6:30 a.m. opening is my friend and devoted citizen, Milt the Banker. (I might see Milt twice a year. Once is always on Election Day.)

I do agree that some days should not be messed with. I don't recommend changing Good Friday to Good April. And Thanksgiving should be on Thanksgiving.

But those days are truly sacred.

Election Day is more like a shopping day. The shopping is serious — even critical — but we are, in effect, making a purchase decision. At Young Isaac, I've invested much of my professional life helping people face and make momentous decisions. Marketing theory would suggest that we let these shoppers decide in flexible ways.

Every Vote Is An Early Vote
Some say: "What if, in the final days, after I've voted early, the nation learns something new — about a candidate or about the world?" I agree: we don't want to elect someone who we subsequently learn isn't ideal for the job.

But on November 5th, the day after Election Day: we are going to learn something (I don't know what) about the world that will call everything we've ever done into question. The market will go up or down. The bad guys will fight or quit. The new President will reveal that he suffers from back pain. I don't know what. But we will learn something and we will feel like we voted too early.

So, even a vote on November 4th, Election Day, is an early vote. Because we're voting without any knowledge of November 5th.

What About Fraud?
I am against it.

Happily, whenever my candidate wins, fraud was not an issue.

But when my candidate loses, there was such voter fraud that the voters were not accurately heard.

If you think we suffer from Fraud Potential, enjoy this article from The New Yorker's Annals of Democracy department — "Rock, Paper, Scissors: How we used to vote" by Jill Lepore, October 13th — on the history of balloting in the United States. You'll walk away thinking our process has never been cleaner.

Voting Is To Proofreading What Doughnut are to ____________
Voting early is committing before you must. But — as a writer seeking a metaphor — I'm mature enough to commit before the deadline. I'm willing to risk being embarrassed about my vote, should I learn something significantly contrary during the days before Election Day.

The wonderful teacher who taught me how to proofread — David Trowbridge, eighth grade, Columbus Academy — always recommended:

Go ahead, proofread your work. Beat the rush. Embarrass yourself early.

Vote today. Here's how.

Oh, Here's One More Reason I Voted Early
I voted early, so I will have more time to volunteer on Election Day to get the vote out.

I'll be doing whatever I can to help people get to the polls and cast their ballots.

Will you join me?