Tuesday November 2nd is election day. Things are a little different in Oregon because of our vote by mail system. So rather then going into your local precinct headquarters we get a ballot in the mail a few weeks before the election that we are supposed to fill out and mail back in. If we do not mail it in early enough then you can drop it off on election day at different drop points all around the state.
Earlier this month after I had filled out my ballot and mailed it off I raised a question on my Facebook page about purchasing a stamp to mail in my ballot. This made for an interesting discussion and one that I want to bring over to the blog. So first I will put in some of what people said on my post and then hopefully we can get some comments to address the different points people made.
So what I said was this
"Lance Cummins has voted and now would like to begin the conversation about the vote by mail process in Oregon and why he has to use his own stamps to mail it back in."
I received several different comments some from people letting me know that I didn't have to mail that I could go drop it off. Which was already aware of. On a personal level it doesn't really bother me to buy my own stamp and I like the flexibility of doing my research and being an informed voter and then mailing it in as opposed to going to the HQ and voting in the booth. I mainly was just wanting to see what people thought.
My friend and regular commentator on this blog, Joel, had this to say:
"if they wish to use the VBM process, make the ballot postage paid. It in essence a poll tax. I do understand that if we had to go to a polling place we would have to expend resources to do so as well."
I felt like that was a valid point. By buying a stamp I am in effect paying for the privilege of voting.
Another friend and regular commentator Macy had this to say:
"for me, I just am not seeing how a stamp is more expensive/intrusive than the old system of having to show up at the ballot box at a specific day, taking time out of your schedule (and maybe hours off work) in order to stand in line. It seems I never turn my ballot in early, so I always drop it by a drop-site, which isn't inconvenient as they have them all over the place and I can just combine it with another errand."
I thought she made a good point that is does come down a little bit to what it feels like for each person. Some people really felt like going to the HQ was a hassle and too to much time out of the day. I have heard stories about people voting in other states, never Oregon, and having to wait 4 and 5 or more hours to vote. Now for me that is unacceptable. I like to vote I enjoy it. But I can't imagine that I would wait that long to cast my ballot no matter how important it was. I mean lets just be honest. How many of us would wait that long?
My friend and fellow blogger Christopher closed with this thought:
"If I were king for a day I'd burn the vote by mail law and go back to the old system. I really liked going to vote at the local voting booth, it made me feel like a citizen."
I can understand where he is coming from. I do not agree. I like to vote by mail. But, I also like feeling like a citizen and right now with politics the way they are it is very easy to feel unconnected to government and to feel like your vote really counts for nothing. Which is really to bad. In Australia and Venezuela voting is mandatory and I do not think that is a good thing. As much as I think everyone should vote I also like that in America I am able to not vote if I feel so inclined. Though I also think you void your right to complain if you do not vote. I know it is easy to be cynical and say that special interests control government and I do feel that the Supreme Courts ruling about the person hood of corporations does not help things. But voting is the only way I have, you have, to be heard. I am not going to use violence to get my message across. So for me being involved by voting is how I say part of the solution. So get out and vote people!! Do it for me.