Thursday, October 19, 2006

Where’s My Polling Place?

Just about every year when I wasn’t working full time (and there were several), I signed up to work at my polling place. A few extra bucks to stand there smiling and meet my neighbors and eat doughnuts and drink really bad coffee. A civic duty I liked to perform.

When I wasn’t an election official, I enjoyed standing in line (sometimes in the rain) and chatting with other locals while waiting to get into a booth and mark my ballot. In all my years since that first election after I became of age (and voted for John F. Kennedy!), I have not missed a chance to vote. So I’m really tuned into this election day activity.

And in all these years, that activity has been linked with a polling place. A garage, a church basement, a fire station, a courthouse, a school. Usually that location would be printed on the Voter’s Pamphlet. If not, look on the little card you got when you registered to vote.

When my search through those sources didn’t turn up my polling place here in Wood Village, I called Voter Information. The first person I talked to did not know what I was talking about (young sounding voice…maybe a student intern?) so he transferred me to another person who started laughing at my question.

How embarrassing to learn in that manner that Oregon VOTES BY MAIL. There are no polling places. An American institution has gone by the wayside, and in this progressive state where it rains every day at this time of year, citizens can stay in their warm cozy homes and vote in their underwear. What a concept.

My ballot will arrive in the mail any day now. For old times’ sake, I think I will go outside and stand in the rain for a few minutes and then go into one of my unheated outbuildings to mark my choices. Which, by the way, will include the incumbent governor (D) and a YES vote on the Ballot Measures for Parks and the Library. For my State Representative I am casting my vote for Ron Brading (D) who I know to be a champion of keeping censorship out of the libraries. And I will cast my vote for Congress to Earl Blumenauer (D) who votes green.

This is a really important election, both locally and nationally, and a chance to tip the balance and make some important changes. So if you live in a state that still has polling places, go there and VOTE!


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