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Voting rights guaranteed


We’ve voted at our house. Ballots came in the mail – we filled ‘em out – dropped ‘em off at what passes for our little City Hall – and we’re done.

Why all states don’t do it that way is beyond me. Oregon started it in the late ‘80’s with amazing results. The presidential contest was added in 2000 and more than 80% of registered voters cast ballots, That ever happen in your state? More than 80%? Didn’t think so.

Disenfranchising voters in Oregon? You gotta be kidding. When you get a driver’s license here, you’re registered to vote. No lines. No ridiculous polling hours. No legislative games by either party.

A Google search for a history of fraud in our balloting turned up nearly nothing. What I found amounted to a couple of instances of several office workers trying to copy ballots to vote more than once. I could only find three times in all the statewide elections we’ve had since 1988. Even if successful, it’s likely the fake documents would have been rejected by some computer along the line.

As for those who insist they just have to go to a polling place “because it feels good and it’s traditional,” try this. Take your ballot to Walmart. Do your shopping. Go to the check stand and, as the checker does her job, whip out the ballot and mark your choices. Right there. In front of her. You’ll get the same feeling. You could even ask her to say “Mrs. Smith has voted.”

Voting this year was somewhat more troubling than previously. That “top-of-the-ticket” contest, you know. Being a bit more moderate than my left-leaning wife, we thought up a scheme so I wouldn’t have to mark a name I truly couldn’t support. Either of ‘em. She’d do my ballot – I’d do hers. Then we’d keep the choices to ourselves and that would solve the problem. Seriously thought about it.

Other than the personal character – or lack of it – of the candidates to choose from at times, I find no fault with voting by mail. Every race in our state and county was on our ballot. Also, the referendums and other issues. We got a voter guide a couple of weeks before election day. We had time to look up things if needed. Just laid the guide beside the ballot on the dining room table – marked the appropriate places – dropped our ballots in the box. Could have mailed them in using a couple of stamps. Either way, the process was neat, efficient, timely, informative, quick and done.

Every time I hear of a state trying to keep people from their absolute right to vote, I wonder if anyone in those places has ever looked at Oregon’s hugely successful system. Our franchise exercise has been adopted in several other states. But not many. Not nearly enough. Maybe the reason for that is because one group or the other – one party or the other – would lose absolute control of who gets to participate and who doesn’t. Boy, that would be too bad.

No, we aren’t perfect here in our little state acreage by the sea. Not by a long shot. Just look at our university football teams. But when a good idea comes along – regardless of who had it – it just makes sense for others to take a look and give it serious thought.

Unless, of course, your political party wants to tip the scales when gerrymandering isn’t enough. Naw. Who’d do that?

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