It’s time to get ready to vote.
If you’re like me, that means taking your mail-in ballot out of the pile of papers on your desk and studying it for the last time. It has been waiting there for me for some days now. I avoid voting early; it always seems like there’s some last minute scandal or revelation that makes me re-think a ballot measure or candidate. So here I am today, perusing my ballot, looking at the voter pamphlet one more time and connecting the arrows preparatory to dropping it off tomorrow.
I dislike voting by mail. I liked it much better when we all cast our ballots on the same day, and when we actually had to gather at a polling place to do so. There was something uplifting about walking down to the polling place and standing in line with other people who were about to have their say on our government. Sticking my little ‘I voted’ sticker on my jacket, and having a conversation about it with my grandchildren later. Some years I was able to take kids with me when I went to the polling place. It was a time to talking with them about voting and what it means. I miss that. But I won’t miss voting.
It disheartens me a bit when I see that in several of our races, candidates are running unopposed. It discourages me even more when I see that the paper is predicting a low turn out for the vote. In times like these, when things are hard and there is great unrest, why would the voter turn out be low? I don’t understand that. Occupy movements and demonstrations are great ways to make people aware of issues. Voting is a way to actually do something about those issues in a very immediate way.
If you’ve been considering not voting this year, I hope you’ll rethink it. Even if there is only one measure you think worthy of your attention, mark that ballot and send it out. Even if there is not one politician you want to vote for, then turn in your ballot unmarked. Speak out in that way. Or follow the old tradition of writing in Alfred E. Neuman and voting for him.
Harsh as it sounds, if you don’t vote, then quit complaining. Pushing a pencil across a piece of paper is the most significant thing you can do tomorrow if you want to change your government. Or if you want to keep it the same. Here in Pierce County, Washington, my vote will influence diverse decisions from making the county save some money when we have a surplus to how we enforce marijuana possession laws and how we deal with our 911 systems.
No matter where in the US you are or what you are voting for, whether I would agree with you choices or not, I urge you to vote. Let us be heard.