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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

All-Mail Voting for King County?

Posted by on December 20 at 12:16 PM

King County Executive Ron Sims has proposed an all-mail voting system for the county. He argues that it will streamline the election process, allow the staff to focus on a single system, and increase voter turnout.

I am all for that. However, I am someone that enjoys voting in person. I go up to the elementary school by my house, where I see my neighbors and get to gawk at all the cute kids. You vote in the library with the positive-message posters and tiny chairs. Best of all, if you go before school starts they have little “hosts” outside wearing darling sashes that will guide you to the polling area. So cute!

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As I just said to Gillian, it's not so "cute" when your polling place is someone else's huge, ugly church.

I will miss the sweet-talkin, sour-smellin' old ladies at my polling place.

But I support all-mail voting.

I like the sense of community I get going to the polling place. I like taking my kids and making it a "teachable moment" about civic responsibility. I like the sense of tradition and patriotism I get going down to vote.

But these warm fuzzy things are a means to the end of selecting our government. If, by discarding these things, we can have greater participation in our government, it will solve a boatload of problems - the importance of money, the influence of a small but well organized special interests, corruption and influence peddling - well, it would be well worth the sacrifice.

I can come up with new traditions. I can sit down at the dinner table with my kids to fill out my ballot and they can come with me to the post office. And I can still have election night parties with my friends. I can't wrest control of politics from wealthy campaign contributors and negative advertising.

I am against this. I had my ballot arrive too late to vote once. This is one too many. No one in County Goverment has assured me that I will get my ballot on time.

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