It never really occurred to me to vote early in the past, but in recent years, I've done it a number of times. Mostly I've done it out of convenience.
If you've got kids and if you transport them to and from school yourself, you know that a good routine must be followed. So for elections that I know will draw a big crowd, I've taken to voting early at lunch, rather than trying to cram it into the evening, which is pretty tightly scheduled.
At first I was like some folks I know who balk at early voting, thinking they'll miss the camaraderie of voting with the hoi polloi on Election Day.
Today, when I voted at the Zeidler Municipal Building Downtown I was reminded that, well-meaning as that attitude is, it's faulty.
There were way more people today lining the corridors waiting to vote, in the act of voting or affixing an "I Voted" sticker to their jackets than there would be at my neighborhood polling place at nearly any time of day next Tuesday.
Best of all, there seemed to be a festive atmosphere. All the poll workers I encountered were cheery and friendly. One older woman even held my arm to walk me to a polling booth rather than simply pointing the way and moving on.
So, while I didn't see my immediate neighbors at the polls today â€“ as I might on Tuesday â€“ I saw dozens of my Milwaukee neighbors â€“ from all corners of the city â€“ and we voted together like good neighbors do ... with a smile.