Voices in My Head
Vote By Mail Ballots. Why Can’t All Voting Be Easy?
340,675 Vote by Mail Ballots from the June 7 election are still being counted. According to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, as of June 8, there are also 251,894 Provisional and 23,487 other ballots for a total of 616,056 ballots outstanding.
In our Long Beach Vote 2016 project with California State University, Long Beach, we surveyed over three hundred residents about why they did or did not vote. The unscientific surveys and the conversations revealed a spectrum of reasons why people don’t vote.
“I didn’t know there was an election.” “I just don’t know enough about the issues.” I just don’t have the time.” “It’s too hard.”
Voters in Tuesday’s election complained via social media that there were issues at some polling stations. The effort took too much time out of their day. The ballot was too long. And who the hell are all these judges on the ballot?
The big name candidates and issues were easy to decide. The rest of it just took much time and energy.
Vote By Mail Ballots are Easy.
I was at the car dealer getting my minor check-up when I filled out mine. I had already done some of my research. The rest I did there in the dealership lounge. Not by reading the stack of mailers that clogged my mailbox. Nope. I googled it.
I actually went to the websites of the candidates. Searched for the endorsements of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Time, and the Long Beach Press Telegram. Read editorials and news articles. Checked out the qualifications of judges at the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I read the official sample ballot and the voter information guide.
By the time my car was ready, my vote by mail ballot was done and ready to drop in the mailbox.
Vote by Mail Ballots Take Time
Now, to be honest, I’m sort of a political junkie. I probably overcompensate for the thousands, millions more that couldn’t tell a Democrat from a Republican from an Independent. “I know who I love and who I hate”.
Ask them if they love them enough to get out of their chair and sit down at their computer to do some additional research that might reinforce or even change their decision. Sorry, I’ve got Housewives of Wherever recorded. (Sorry about that. Hate that show).
Yes, the Vote by Mail ballot is easy to complete from the comfort of your local car dealership or your kitchen. If you have the time, voting early or on Election Day is just as good. A vote is a vote that matters.
The hard part is taking the time to do the research, to attend candidate forums (which I did), read news stories and editorials, speak to your neighbors and friends and yes, check your social media feed (Just don’t freak out from the profanity laden comments). It’s just one more source to consider.
It’s hard to sit down our my vote by mail ballots or walk into a polling station and believe I am making an informed and well-thought out decision. These are times of hyper social media where rumor replace facts, hysteria replaces contemplative dialogue, and extreme and hardened positions have replaced any thoughts of compromise.
Why don’t you vote? My favorite comment from the surveys was “Because I don’t want to be called for Jury Duty?” Now, that’s someone who takes citizenship seriously.
By the way, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court, “The selection and management of jurors is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. By law, potential jurors for Los Angeles County courts are selected randomly from the voter list and the Department of Motor Vehicles’ drivers and identification card holder lists.”
Get informed. Really think about your decision. All of you should get your Vote by Mail Ballots or vote early at the Long Beach City Clerk or Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office or at a polling station. Just vote in November because you take your citizenship seriously.