I love Oregon’s vote-by-mail system. About three weeks before elections our ballots come in the mail. Then we the voters get to pick when and where we vote. No long lines on election day. No hanging chads. No realization in the polling box that I have no idea how to vote on the Tigard-Tualatin School levy or who to choose for city council.
Steve and I have a long-standing tradition now of holding our own “voting party.” We don’t invite anyone else, just the two of us, take-out pizza, a good bottle of wine, the voters’ guides, a laptop computer and our ballots. We actually look forward to our “voting party,” which we held last Wednesday night. Online we referred to the Oregonian’s voter’s guide, the Oregonian’s endorsements, the city of Tualatin’s website and good ol’ Google.
It took about two hours to finish our pizza, wine and ballots. We had some hearty debate about whether to choose Gordon Smith or Jeff Merkley for Senate (they each got one vote from our household) and whether or not to approve Tualatin’s parks and rec measure (no – seemed to include too many unnecessary extras). We shared our disgust with all of Bill Sizemore’s ridiculous measures. We agreed that we needed to support the extension of the Tigard-Tualatin school levy and emergency services levy.
Voting in this manner turns the election into an informational process for me. I wouldn’t have known anything about our city council members but, because many were up for reelection, I read about them online and know what they stand for. If the levies I voted for pass, I’ll know where that part of my tax dollars are going. I appreciate our state’s system which allows me to become informed in the comfort of my home, with my ballot in front of me and trusted resources at my fingertips.
No matter what type of voting system your state has, make sure you vote this year. It’s important for you, your community, and, more than ever, for our country.