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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Didn't come here to gloat, just here to vote

Friday, November 2, 2012

(Photo)
For those of us in the news business, few stories carry the cachet of a general election.

After all, it's literally news in the making. Well-defined winners and losers emerge before our very eyes. Just like your best sports stories.

Drama builds, and the news media react. And sometimes you even get "Dewey beats Truman" (thanks, Chicago Tribune). But these days with computerized voting and tabulating, that's about as likely to occur as Hendricks County electing a Democrat.

In our business, the thought of breaking the big news gets your adrenaline pumping. I'm sure we'll all be fired up Tuesday like we've been mainlining Starbucks cappuccinos as we digest any and all developments.

But right now I'm feeling a little cheated by the new process.

"Vote early, vote often," was a common remark in my suburban Chicago neighborhood. Earlier this week I took the first part of that statement to heart.

For my wife, who doesn't figure to be in town to vote Tuesday, it was out of sheer necessity that we decided to visit the courthouse earlier this week to try early voting.

While she had to do so to be a good citizen and make certain her vote counts in that hotly contested County Council race, I basically accompanied her to the courthouse -- partly just to be a good husband (not to mention the image-enhancing benefit of having a beautiful woman on my arm while out in public) and partly for my own convenience.

For the sheer convenience of my own Election Day schedule, I decided to join the early voting clique. Not because I fear ginormous lines at the Community Building next Tuesday but basically to avoid having to make an Election Day decision on when to slip away from the office and cast my ballot on an extremely busy day in the newsroom.

But let's make one thing clear though. I've never been that guy who skips to the last chapter of the book to read the ending first. Never been one to peek at my presents in advance, lest we spoil the Christmas Day excitement.

Nope, I embrace the suspense. Isn't that why we love sports so much? Not just for the thrill of athletic competition but the everlasting uncertainty of it all.

Yet I jumped at the chance to vote while the calendar was still flipped open to October.

Suddenly I feel it's like I've DVR'd the Super Bowl. Or videotaped the Indy 500.

It's the build-up that often makes the ending and the outcome special, I know. But I voted early anyway. And now, I feel disappointed that I did. It's a hollow feeling.

Honestly, I have never been able to tape or DVR a sports event and enjoy it later, fast-forwarding through commercial breaks and dead time to watch the whole thing unfold in 45 minutes or an hour.

Nope, when you really think about it, that time between plays, between pitches, during commercial breaks and other pregnant pauses, that's where the drama builds.

Like in the final days before the vote. The closer we get to Election Day, the more the pressure builds (and the more TV advertising intensifies and repeats).

But now I've gone and made my voting decisions about as suspenseful as Dave Brown's Putnam County coroner campaign.

Unequivocally, with zero percent of precincts reporting, I must aver and pronounce Dave Brown really most sincerely the new coroner (of course he's known that since the candidate filing period ended in February).

Yep, I've gone and made it all anticlimactic for myself. Like watching IU win the 1987 NCAA basketball title on tape, knowing all along Keith Smart was going to hit that last-second shot to sink Syracuse.

So can all of that really spoil Election Day for a veteran newspaperman? Obama-Romney? Mourdock-Donnelly? Pence-Gregg-Rupert?

Hmmmm.

Like everything else, I guess we'll find out for sure on Tuesday.

Just don't blame me, I already voted.