Readers React: Now that we don’t even vote on the same day anymore, do Americans have anything left in common?

People wait in line Tuesday at a polling place in Silver Spring, Md.
People wait in line Tuesday at a polling place in Silver Spring, Md.
(Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

To the editor: By the beginning of this century there were only three things that Americans did at the same time: celebrate the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, and vote on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and the latter was already hanging by a thread.

Now, the thread has been broken.

I agree with Mariel Garza that it was once a virtue to engage in the same activity at the same time across the continent that our country spans. I don’t know if the politicians who have encouraged fewer people to vote on election day realize the significant change they have wrought on the unity of our country.

Without voting on the same day, Americans really don’t have anything in common anymore. It should not be any surprise, then, that politics has become tribal. We no longer have any important civic activity in common with our fellow Americans and, consequently, act that way toward others.


Joel Drum, Van Nuys


To the editor: Down with the efficiency experts and their desire to wring the very last bit of drama out of the personal voting process with machinery.

I grew up in a time when politicians campaigned in the neighborhoods and on the backs of flatbed trucks, and election day was a holiday encompassing an entire community. Still, I hear from young people today how much they enjoy the trip to the polls. They mention the hubbub and the opportunity to speak with strangers as they wait in line, to feel the excitement in the air and to finally make their marks on the ballot.

Although my polling place is but a half-mile distance, last year was the final trip there for my ancient husk and I now vote by mail — a sterile process at best but better than a touchscreen’s vacant stare.

Carleton Cronin, West Hollywood

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