Saturday, August 19, 2006

Voting: Absentee or Walk In?

We got a couple absentee ballot applications in the mail a week or so ago. Since we got them, I assume everyone else did? I'm trying to decide whether I want to send them in and give us permanent absentee voting status.

I used to be one of those that, while not thinking it was my duty to vote, thought it important. For some reason or other I also felt the honorable thing to do was to go down to my precinct and vote in person. Once I even chastised a fairly well known Southern CA LPer when he mentioned that he nearly always voted absentee.

But times change, and so do people. Now, I don't vote in races I don't see a compelling reason to vote in- the Thompson vs. Weisner race of the last few election cycles being one of them (unless an LPer is running). City council races are often left alone unless there's a compelling issue involved, as well. I actually feel good with myself for not voting in races there's no real reason to vote in.

But I do vote and am thinking of doing the absentee thing. I can only think of a couple downsides: I might get impatient and fill out my ballot early and then change my mind on some issue or candidate after I've voted. That's happened before, but that was with walk- in voting (As I mentioned some time ago, you can vote weeks early by going down to the Elections Division in Eureka. They have voting booths there.).

There's also security to consider, and I'm not one of those vote fraud conspiratorialists. First, you have to wonder if the ballot would get where it's supposed to go in the first place, postal service being what it is. Sencond, what if someone saw my ballot waiting in the mail and snagged my ballot and trashed it? I know, yet another conspiracy. Hey, just cause you're paranoid...

Then again, I could always fill out my ballot casually at home and deliver to Elections Division or my precinct by the deadline. That would probably be the way to go.

I'm not sure, but I have to make up my mind by September 8. That's the deadline for the November election. I'll probably go ahead and file as an absentee voter. Does anyone have any other compelling reasons for voting either absentee or walk- in?


At 1:40 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

I always had to vote by mail as there are no precincts down river from Weitchpec. I don't believe the post office ladies at the Hoopa PO would consider intercepting a single ballot from a crazy Libertarian.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

I protested heavily in mid 90s about Lindsey McWilliams decision to take away our voting precinct that was at Peninsula School and make the peninsula exclusively absentee . He justified the move saying that we were under 250 voters. We were way close to 250 and the elections office was not real helpful in my investigation of what the actual figure was. The Times Standard wrote a story on my frustration at the time. It was nasty confrontational ordeal. I said it would have a negative impact in the form of less voter participation. Voting used to be a very social event out here in Samoa and we always had a great turnout. Not the case anymore.

But I will tell you that I probably vote more informed now. My wife and I will sit down and discuss each issue and debate. We then vote how we want if we have no concensus. I personally take my ballott into the elections office each election.

Another issue: Why do I have to buy postage for the absentee ballott if I mail it? We should all vote for free.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like absentee. it was especially hard to get to the precinct when i had very little kids and a full time job miles from my precinct. permanent absentee is a godsend. i'd like to be able to vote on the internet, but i don't trust anyone to do that fairly... i do trust the current system and think all this whining the last few years is unwarranted spin.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mailing in your absentee ballot is free already. Look at the card.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger FaulknA said...

I'm for Absentee. You never know what might befall you on election day. A bus (not out here) or a truck could remove your transportation and as my polling place is 15 miles away, that's a big consideration for me.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

4:51- You are wrong. You have to put a stamp on to return by mail. You do not vote this way do you? You would know if you did. I have since Lindsey made that decision for me. I do not like to pay to vote.

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Jack said...

I prefer to vote in person. I want to observe what's going on at my local precinct.

Many, many years ago I heard unsubstantiated rumors about poll workers trying to influence how people voted.

I doubt those rumors were true, but just in case I like to check it out.

I also want to see whether there are long lines, if people are being turned away, or if there are campaigners outside the polling place.

Basically, by voting in person, you can be a watchdog – at least for the five minutes you're at the polls.

Plus, you get the "I voted" sticker.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger The Mask said...

I didn't mail my absentee ballot in on time for the recall election and took it into the precinct on election day. The poll workers were all new/strangers (I usually voted non-absentee, but have done it both ways, and had brought it in before). They were somewhat hostile which I had never encountered before. It didn't seem to be inexperience but rather seemed related to the fact that I was an absentee Republican. I got the feeling those poll workers weren't pleased about it. Never seen it like that before or since.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger J. Alora said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

Call me a geek, but I like the ritual of walking into the precinct and voting in the booth. I've had to vote absentee a few times due to circumstances, but it always just kind of felt empty.

One election I actually got to the precinct at opening time and learned that they are required to open the door and yell "Hear ye, hear ye, the polling precinct is open" or something very close to that, including the old English.

Then later I thought maybe someone at the elections office was pulling her leg.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cmon fred how about a trade, we'll vote for your lib assembly candidate if you vote for an indy congress candidate.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Why bother voting for Thompson? I'm sure he'll win by a healthy majority anyway. Or are you referring to Pam Elizondo?

BTW; Just what does "indy" as in indy candidate mean, anyway. I know about that indy news website, whatever it's called. I just never understood the "indy" relation to anything.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody but Thompson! He is not the Democrat for me! I will give my vote to Pam! Maybe even a Republican that is not a hypocrite about the war. What is Thompson this week, for or against invasion?


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