As election day nears many Americans on the east coast are realizing that there is a very real possibility that they'll be shut out of the polls on election day as Tropical Storm Sandy makes landfall, predicted to do so at resurrected full hurricane force. My state is expected to be covered in at least 5 inches of rain, and preparations are now under way across the state by residents. For myself, I have some laundry to do and bags to pack. I'll be leaving the house on Sunday afternoon, and won't be home until Thursday. Not all people are as lucky as myself. I'll be able to stay at work with everything I could possibly need. But a realization sets in as I zip up my garment bag with two suits inside. I'm not going to be able to vote on Tuesday, and neither will the vast majority of residents in the county. Hell, I don't know how we even expect to pull off an election on Tuesday. I'd be amazed if we even have enough officials for the county to get the polls open and running. We're predicted to experience a full 12 inches of rainfall. That usually translates into about 14-18 inches of flood water for us. Roads will be impassable, people will be stranded on newly formed islands. Other areas of the state might have even more flooding, even though they'll probably have half the rainfall, because they'll have to worry about storm surge too. So I make the decision that I have no other decision but to make, and that's to go out today and get my voting done. I've settled on for whom, and what, I want to vote. And even if I hadn't, I don't have anymore time left. It's either now or never. And thanks to the Goddess that I have the opportunity for early voting today. I've never done early voting before. I've always voted on election day. I never had a particular need until now. And when the need came about, it was with far too little warning for me to be able to have voted earlier than this weekend. It makes me realize how fortunate I am that my state hasn't taken the silly, partisan moves to limit early voting in the final weekend before election day. I'm able to vote today, but won't be able to do it tomorrow. It just won't work out. Can't help wondering how many people might be in the reverse situation in FL, for example. How many people may have had sudden circumstances that are going to stop them from voting on Tuesday as intended, but who won't be able to do it today either. How many people would have been able to vote tomorrow, except for the fact that early voting was restricted to outlaw it tomorrow. Laws can't predict Mother Nature. But I'm suddenly realizing how important early voting is. It's not just for the elderly. There are all kinds of circumstances that can catch a person rather off guard, that make the ability to vote early, especially in the days most immediately preceding an election, is a simple and common sense solution to help protect the most important right a free society can preserve.