Friday, May 05, 2006

Could It Be Any Easier?

It is so easy to vote in Oregon. They actually send you a ballot in the mail. You can fill it out at home. It's like an open book test.
I admit that as a voter in another state I voted for some candidates based on the lyrical qualities of their names. I just never heard of these people running for County Commisioner at Large or Dog Catcher Extraordinaire.
The big races like governor and state senator get lots of press coverage, but the majority of the candidates in the small races are literally unknowns.
Oregon is also nice enough to send a voter handbook in the mail containing names, pictures, and little biographies of the candidates in almost every race.
Today, I browsed through the voter handbook and voted at my leisure.
It was much better than scrunching into a little box and pulling a curtain with about as much coverage in the back as those hospital gowns behind me, then quickly voting for whoever sounds good because I don't want to keep everybody else waiting.
Once voted for the wrong guy! (It was Mike Leavitt-shudder.)
I knew he was going to win anyway - Utahns love their Republican incumbents, but I despise him and just wanted him to know it. After getting over the horror of my mistake, I decided it wasn't worth the hassel to get another ballot and possibly stand in line again, or make the other politically active citizens wait any longer.
Voting in Utah, and most other places, is also a major hassel because you have to figure out where to vote.
You can't just walk across the street to the elemetary school decked out in "Official Polling Place" signs. No, most likely your particular 'district' votes at some senior citizen's center you've never been to on some road you've never heard of, in some part of town your regularly avoid.
You'd think that with all the ease and convenience of voting, Oregon would have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country.
You'd think that wouldn't you?
Voter turnout here is about average, no more, no less than any other state.
I've got to wonder, why?
If the state offered to send ballot collectors to your home, then would more people vote?
If you could vote telepathically, would more people vote?
Probably not. One day I might accept that some citizens just don't care. They don't think their vote counts, or that nothing will change even if they do vote.
I don't get those people, I don't accept their thinking.
It's got to be something else.


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