Word from the West: let us vote! Pundits, don't call the election. Candidates, do not concede. Tens of millions of voters from Colorado to California deserve to have our voices heard. Don't end the election before we all have our say.
Nearly every Western voter has grown up with the dread that the early election night call will effectively shut us down. My husband and I were both teenagers walking precincts in California on election night 1980 and we remember hearing the same thing from voters staying home -- "it's over -- why bother?"
Why bother? Because we are a huge battleground. While the West is part of the Democrats' national strategy -- starting with our Congressional victories in 2006, our early Nevada caucuses, and the Colorado convention in 2008 that nominated Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- it is also the home of both Republican nominees John McCain and Sarah Palin. Beyond the presidency we have Senate, Governor, House, and local races as well as compelling ballot initiatives that deserve all of our votes. From Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Oregon Senate races to Montana and Washington Governor contests to California's energy, crime and equality proposition fights to over 12 competitive House races in Western states currently within the margin of error to McCain's surprisingly close battle in his home state of Arizona, the American West is a key battleground in this election. How the West votes may well decide the Congress if not the presidency.
We know it's been a long campaign and our sensationalist media outlets feel a pressure to be "first" in calling the presidential election. And I want Barack Obama to be president as urgently as anyone. But if the early returns signal a victory one way or the other -- resist. Don't perpetuate voter suppression by shutting down the West just when our people are getting off work and taking kids to the polls for this historic election. After this unprecedented 50-state campaign that has electrified the nation, all Americans deserve to participate. Do not call the election -- do not concede the election -- let all our votes count.
UPDATE: Election Day 2:45 pm ET: East coast media elites already broadcasting exit polls. You know, the media types who hype bitter clinging plumber stories to show who's in touch with working people are the first to cut off those very same working people come Election Day with their attempts to influence the vote.