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Paper Ballot vs. Going To The Polls

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Americans Go To The Polls To Elect The Next U.S. President
(Photo by David Lienemann/Getty Images)

Voting for those who make our decisions for us is probably the greatest freedom any of us have.

Few other countries come anywhere close to the power we hold when we step inside that ballot box and lick that mail in ballot envelope.

The big question that’s always asked is how many of us step into the voting booth or lick that envelope — and which of the two motivates us more?

Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke will most likely be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior soon.

When that happens Montana will have 100 days or so to call a special election to elect a new Montana Representative to speak for Montanans in Washington.

The Montana Senate had given the go ahead for mail in ballots a first step in the process.

Seventy-four percent of Colorado state voters mailed in their ballots for the 2012 general election.

Going To The Polls

For me, going to the polls seems to carry a lot more weight with me. But for some voters it’s a hassle to drive to the polls, stand in long lines or forget which way you wanted to vote on some issue.

For those of us who are older we always went to the polls for almost any vote. So it’s sort of ingrained in our psyche as the way to vote.

We lick envelopes and pay bills every month. Somehow mailing a letter doesn’t seem to be as powerful as holding your ballot in a polling place.

Mailing Your Ballot

From a logical and economical standpoint mail in ballots make more sense. Manning a polling place with workers for 12 plus hours takes money.

With a mail in ballot you have printing, postage and labor. But how many people will miss it in the mail thinking it might be junk mail.

Just because it says something about a ballot on the outside doesn’t mean it’s not advertising of some kind on the inside.

The more emotional the vote is the higher the turnout expected.

And it expands the time you have to vote. Once you enter that booth at a polling place the decision making process accelerates.

Some Final Thoughts

Mail in ballots was first done in Oregon in 1998. Since the mail in ballot is not nationwide yet the affect on turnout is still in question.

It does seem interesting that in this high-energy world of instant communication that snail mail is the choice to make our elections easier.

How does that work?

Are we looking at making voting easier or are we diluting the importance of voting because it’s no longer a freedom but a process?

Pretty hard to see freedom sandwiched in a pile of bills.

I hope you take the mail in ballot as seriously and being dedicated enough to get in your car, drive to your polling place, stand in line and exercise your franchise.

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