The Ballot

absentee ballot

I received my absentee ballot in the mail. Oregon, where I’m registered to vote, makes it easy to vote by mail. Other states have followed suit and the trend is toward making voting more convenient. In fact, I haven’t voted at a polling booth for over a decade.

It can only increase the number of voters. If you want to vote the old-fashioned way, you have to wait until November 4, go to the polling place that’s chosen for you (usually a school), during the times that it’s open (it varies), wait in line, get verified by the election official, then enter the booth to vote. The voting method could be any number of kinds of paper forms, levers, and now touch screens. You might have to take time off from work or go on your lunch break.

Or you can get your ballot by mail, peruse it at your leisure in your home, and then mail it in at any time by November 4. I think democracy is better served through mail-in ballots.

These were the contents of the election materials that were included.

The Ballot. Each local precinct can adopt its own style of ballot. This one’s a nice clearly designed one.

The Secrecy Envelope. After filling out the ballot, I must place the ballot into this envelope, otherwise it’s considered compromised and will be voided.

The Mailing Envelope. Then the whole thing is sent back in another envelope.

Mailing Instructions.

Full Texts of Ballot Initiatives. Oregon requires all the initiatives that citizens put forth to the public, to be summarized and the financial impact to be estimated. In the full booklet, organizations who support or are against the initiatives have their arguments printed side by side. I love this about Oregon.

The Presidency is just one of the items on the ballot. I can vote on everything from national representatives to local officials, as well as petitioned initiatives and bonds.

I get excited delving into it. I couldn’t tell you anything about those local officials though. I’ll usually leave them blank and ask my friends if they have an opinion on the matter. Sometimes I just vote for the woman. I figure it was tougher for her to get there. And statistically women tend towards community-centered political positions.

I love voting. I’ll never take it for granted. One of my Australian co-workers told me that once you register to vote in Australia, you must vote every year or you’ll be fined. That’s a little too much. I’m not sure if it increases voting since some may not register to void the fine.

During this election, most Americans don’t need any disincentives to vote. Nearly all my American colleagues here have registered to vote by mail. And they’re excited about the election.

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