Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy provides graphic demonstration about why all states should move immediately to voting by mail.

I live in Washington state, which is one of the few states in the country that does its voting exclusively by mail.  There is no worry about early voting or getting off work on election day to go vote, because there are no polling places, period.  All you have to do is wait until your printed ballot shows up in the mail, which is normally preceded by the handy dandy voter guide booklet, and sit in the comfort of your own home and figure out how to vote.  My biggest inconvenience was that I had no idea what several of the ballot measures, initiatives and referendum were about, even with the voter guide, and had to look them up on some local blogger's websites to make sure I really understood what I was voting for or against.  I wanted to make sure someone wasn't playing footsie with the language used on the ballot to make it look like something it really wasn't.  That happens quite often here, actually.

Look at the disruptions all through the east coast and stretching into the midwest due to Sandy.  Who knows what election day is going to look like in all those locations.  I bet many polling places are still going to be without power.  And as important as voting is in this country right now, I would bet there will be many families who will have a different set of priorities on Nov. 6, such as making sure everyone has enough to eat and remains warm, or cleaning up from the tree limb that went through their roof.  In coastal areas, many people may not have working vehicles anymore.

Dammit, this is a democracy.  Or else it is supposed to be.  Voting should be easy, not difficult.  Washington state and Oregon have shown that voting-by-mail works and works well.  Let's use it!

I am wondering how much disruption the storm's aftereffects are going to have on election day.  No matter what happens regarding winners and losers, there will no doubt be a number of people crying "foul" because of a breakdown in the voting system.  I just hope they are small breakdowns and not something major that no one saw coming.  Then the crap really will hit the fan, metaphorically speaking.

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