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To Vote Early, Or Just Wait For Tuesday?

As cold winds whipped about Monday and Tuesday, the summer heat no longer seemed so bad. It was snowing in the mountains — about three feet deep where I had hiked so comfortably a week ago admiring the fall leaves. My sweet little granddaughters in northern Virginia hunkered down in the basement on Monday night to ride out Hurricane Sandy as it swept through with winds up to 50 mph. And New Yorkers went from one disaster to the next — the Yankees being swept in four games in the American League pennant games to a hurricane sweeping in with outrageous winds and waves from the sea.
Where have you gone, sweet summer?

Elizabeth and I drove toward the storm on Friday — escaping to Myrtle Beach for the weekend despite a hurricane swirling in the Atlantic. Storm Sandy was a non-event in South Carolina. Sure, it was rainy on Saturday and the wind blew loudly that night, but it was worth it to get to a place where there are no presidential campaign ads on TV. We watched college football games without the company of President Obama or Gov. Romney. Solidly red South Carolina is not a battleground state. The shrimp and oysters were very good this time of year.

To vote early, or not? That is the Shakespearean question. Whether to hurry to the early-voting polls before they close Saturday at 1 p.m., or wait until Tuesday to vote with the masses?
At the Clemmons Library, 4,500 people voted in the first five days. On Tuesday at 2:22 p.m., 5,694 people had voted early in Davie County — 20 percent of the 28,200 registered voters. (Confirming the wizardry of computers, an election worker retrieved that figure in less than 30 seconds.) Davie has five early voting precincts open this week, and they have been busy. At Bermuda Run, the wait in line to vote sometimes took 45 minutes.
I have never voted early, believing that the only day to vote is the one set by Congress: Tuesday following the first Monday in November. (I also cling to my old manual typewriter and thought the Internet was a fad.) But voting early is a temptation. Those who voted during last week’s pleasant temperatures now seem to be the smart ones. If enough people vote early, I won’t have to worry about lines on Tuesday.

A benefit of the heavy winds associated with Sandy: Many leaves have been stripped from the trees early this fall. More than half the leaves are already off the trees in my yard. Maples, poplars, dogwoods and gums are nearly bare. Only the oaks are clinging fast.
If only the winds will die down so I can get the leaves up.

During the Great Tribulation, expect pollsters to be left behind. These days, they are more unpopular than Congress, Osama bin Laden and a poke in the eye. There seems to be a daily poll to confirm any prejudice. President Obama is either up by two points or down by two. Gov. Romney is either going down in flames or winning by a landslide …