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Voting absentee

I forgot that yesterday was election day until I saw stories on the local newspaper’s app about election returns.

But I didn’t forget to vote. Several weeks ago the county clerk mailed absentee ballot applications to all registered voters here, I assume to reduce numbers at polling places in the face of COVID-19. What a great idea! I filled it out and sent it in.

I voted two weeks ago by mail. This was a primary election with lots of candidates running in most races. I’d never heard of most of them. It was wonderful to fill out my ballot right in front of my computer, where I could research each candidate.

I submitted what was probably my most informed ballot in over 30 years of voting. If I can, I will vote absentee every time from now on.

As I completed my ballot I recalled the first time I voted, which I also did via absentee ballot. It was the Presidential election of 1988. I was 21 and so had been eligible to vote in three previous elections. But I sat them out because they were primarily local and state elections and I didn’t feel like a man with a permanent home. I was in engineering school in Terre Haute, a temporary stop, and I’d paid no attention to local politics. My permanent address was my parents’ home in South Bend, but I didn’t actually live there anymore and had lost touch with the politics. But I wasn’t going to miss a Presidential election. I wrote to the clerk in my home county for a ballot. I felt proud to fill in the bubble next to the man I wanted to be President.

Last updated on 3 June 2020 by Jim Grey

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20 thoughts on “Voting absentee

  1. Mark says:

    Our state is entirely mail-in for a number of years.- Put in your mailbox, any mailbox or the scattered county drop boxes. While it was a great feeling of civil pride to stand in line with my neighbors this is so much easier and better. Have a cold, unexpectedly out of town or xtown running late, pouring rain or snow, undergoing chemo, banged up a foot, this darn virus, pick a reason. None of that stops us from being a good citizen and exercising the right given most recently a hundred years ago.

    • I’ve missed a few elections because life happened. It’s very frustrating. With mail in ballots I have little excuse for missing!

  2. Colorado is also a mail-in ballot state. We also have the option to vote early in perso, or drop off ballots on election day. Works well here. Can’t make it mucj easier to vote.

  3. tbm3fan says:

    I have used absentee voting in California since 1988, It comes in very handy during Presidential elections since the long ballot will have four sides to fill out. I kid you not they can be long. If you weren’t versed you could either get out of the voting station fast because you leave much blank or you are in there 45-60 minutes trying to figure every item from Senator, to Representative, to Propositions, to local the many officials, judges, BART directors, and still go eeny meeny miny moe.

    I basically need a week to go over the handbook and then 30 minutes to mark the ballot making no mistakes. My wife, born and raised in the mountains of the Philippines, took one look when first becoming a citizen, shuddered, and went absentee herself. These ballots are take home tests yet make things so much easier. But why make it easy, unless…

  4. Michael says:

    I’ve voted early the past several times and did so again, but I would never mail it in unless forced to do so. This being a largely D town, it was the second time I’ve chosen that ballot since there were no R races with more than 1 candidate (and several with no candidate) and also the second time there was a certain D I wanted in office.

    • Yes, when you live in a town that skews heavy to the other party, sometimes you do have to vote that party in a primary just so your voice is heard.

  5. I can vote mail-in in California and I have for every election since I learned that. Like you, I love being able to do the research on every candidate, even all of those judges!

  6. Welcome to the world of mail-in voting!

    I’ve lived in Oregon since 2001, and the whole time I’ve been here, the whole state has been Vote-By-Mail. I don’t know if I could ever go back to voting via polling places. Before, I would go into the booth and be confronted with lots more choices/races than I thought, and I had a minute or so to choose and no way to learn anything. Now I get the ballot sent to me, and I have plenty of time to go over all the candidates and races and make an informed decision.

    I generally would drop off the ballot at designated drop-offs, mostly to avoid paying for a stamp. (Due to COVID our May primary had “postage paid” envelopes). That way I could vote unitl 8 PM on Election Day. The drop-offs were typically in libraries, so I could also pick up/drop off books at the same time. How’s that for democracy? :-D

  7. In recant times I was almost always in the City County Building at least once during early voting periods and would drop into the Clerk’s office to fill out my ballot. I wasn’t thinking about it this time until a news reminder that came out the day before the deadline to request an absentee ballot (which had to be mailed or faxed). I will likely go this route in November.

    • I thought it was fabulous that the Boone County clerk just sent out those letters. Very little thinking or preplanning required on my part!

  8. Andy Umbo says:

    Wisconsin’s Republican Party is trying to halt or curtail vote by mail. They make the bogus claim that republicans have been pushing for years that there would be overt voter fraud. The same reason they wouldn’t push off the last primary to a ‘safer’ time, they wanted to suppress voter turn-out.40 voters and poll workers in the Milwaukee area got corona tracked specifically to voting. The Republican weighted state supreme court denied the governors ability to do this at the behest of Republican jack-a-napes Vos and Johnson! The governor is trying to set up state-wide vote-by-mail now!

    If this country really took voting seriously, they would make voting day a national holiday and participation would be required, it is in other countries.

    I voted in the last presidential election in Zionsville Indiana. I was appalled that they had an electronic voter “box” that had to be “reset” between users, and no paper copy of your ballot (at least in Wisconsin they scan your paper ballot, and keep it in case of a visual recount). Many offices had zero challengers to the republican incumbent!

    Zionsville is an area where a lot of the “euro” live that work in the local drug and chemical labs. I stood next to two Frenchmen who were appalled at how long it was taking, and the lack of paper copies; they said people in France would never accept this type of voting!

    • I usually vote at the Whitestown Town Hall, which is within walking distance of my home. It’s never a trouble, always goes smoothly, and the electronic voting machines go fast and easy.

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