A record number of people casting advance ballots in today's election is good news in a couple of ways.
First, it reflects a high level of interest that is likely to result in a record number of voters casting ballots. Second, the number of advance voters should help ease the lines at polling places today.
Even with the high number of advance voters, today's election numbers are likely to challenge the county's poll workers. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew has hired 300 temporary workers to help handle expected crowds at the polls, but judging by the lines at the courthouse on Monday, many voters probably will experience at least a short wait to cast their ballots today.
It seems that local election officials have done what they could to be prepared for the expected high turnout of voters. Hopefully, the election will proceed without incident in Douglas County and county officials will be able to efficiently count the ballots and provide accurate vote totals as quickly as possible.
We all should hope that across the nation today the election proceeds smoothly, with an emphasis on participation and fairness. Kansas and other states with advance voting are ahead of the game; 2008 may be the year that other states decide to pursue an advance voting option.
This is an important election that will elect not only a new president and vice president but also fill many important state and local offices. It has been a very active campaign season that has produced more than the average discord in some local races. The hotly contested races give voters a real choice, but also make it especially important for voters to educate themselves, cut through the charges and countercharges, and pick the candidates who best represent their views.
Perhaps the most positive aspect of the 2008 election is the way it has energized voters across the nation. The expected high voter turnout would be a great tribute to the power of our democracy.
Even under the best of circumstances today, the polls are likely to be busy. If you're one of those voters standing in line to cast your ballot, hang in there. It's worth it to participate in America's most precious process.