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Posts Tagged ‘ballots’

I remember being in middle school and learning about the political process and about voting.  We watched films about how to be involved and how important it was to get people to vote.  In more than one of the films, I saw volunteers driving people to the polling booths to vote.  That has stayed with me for over forty years.

I remember when I was in high school and close to voting age. As I got closer and closer to 18, I got more and more excited about voting.  And once I turned 18 I voted in person in every single election.  I did notice that not everyone was as enthusiastic as I was about voting and about getting out the vote.  As the years passed, it was more and more disappointing to see that there wasn’t a big push to help those that needed help getting to the polls or to get people registered to vote.

At one time, when my kids were in elementary school, their school district was involved in a bond measure.  We got everyone involved.  The kids went door to door passing out leaflets about the bond measure and talked about what it would mean to them personally if the bond measure passed.  I was willingly a part of the team that made phone calls in the evenings to inform people about the bond measure and what it would mean to the school district.  Then we called to remind people to vote in the coming days and then on election day we called again to see if people had voted and if they could not get to their polling place we sent someone to their home to pick them up and give them a ride.  I loved that campaign and I felt that I had made a difference when our bond measure passed.

Sadly, it just doesn’t happen anymore. There have been very few times that I’ve seen a push for votes.  A real push…the kind where you call people and see if they need help getting to the polls.  The kind where you answer phones and questions about where a person’s polling place is.  I think that it has a direct effect on people voting.

Some years ago, I moved to Oregon where there is no voting in person.  It is all done by mail.  You register by mail.  You get your ballot in the mail and you return it in the mail.  It’s not the same.  I just don’t feel invested in the system when I cannot physically vote at a polling place.  I see the benefits of voting by mail but I don’t feel like it is for me.  In most cases I don’t even make up my mind about who or what I will vote for until the day before the election.  I can’t see filling out my ballot weeks before the election and then returning it.  In fact, I don’t mail anything.  I really don’t like and don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service so I don’t use it.  I wouldn’t trust them with my ballot.  And then there is the part where I would have to remember to actually mail it in time.

It’s not the same.  It just isn’t.  And in this case, I think it is sad that things are changing.  I think it is sad that we don’t have that one on one personal experience of voting our ballot or of participating in the process and helping others to participate in it.

It’s not the same.

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