Press Talk: Where’s your ballot today?

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor

Published:

 

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian's editor emeritus. His column of personal opinion appears the first Saturday of every month. Reach him at lounews1@gmail.com.

You see it over there, right?

On the corner of the kitchen counter. It’s just sitting there. Piled with the junk mail. Like you really were thinking about buying those Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump chia heads.

Come on, man!

Get rid of the garbage and pay attention to that ballot. You heard me. The ballot!

It’s been sitting there for a week now. You keep telling yourself you’re going to do it. But guess what? You ain’t doin’ it!

So do it.

I remember when mail-in ballots first became a thing. To be honest, I hated it. To be even more honest, I still hate it.

I liked driving to my polling place. Seeing friends and neighbors waiting in line to do their civic duty. Feeling like part of a community. A voting community.

But here’s a little secret: fuhgeddaboudit. I don’t see that coming back any time soon.

We’re stuck with the mail-in ballot.

I also get that this ballot can be a little confusing for guys like me who are only half-bright. You’ve got things to sign, envelopes to stuff into other envelopes and a particular kind of way to mark your ballot. And for heaven’s sake, don’t use a yellow pen.

Oh, you’re not done yet. Put a stamp on it and get it in the mailbox. Or deposit it in a designated drop-off box.

• • •

Hopefully, you’ve noticed I haven’t said a word — haven’t even hinted at — whom you should be voting for. Depending on your perspective, there are good people and not-so-good people on this ballot. Get educated, do your homework and vote.

Its history

Voting — you see — has been a thing for quite some time in this country. And at its very beginning, the U.S. Constitution didn’t set the rules. It allowed the states to set the rules. Unfortunately, that resulted in most states only allowing white males to vote.

Back then, we had Jim Crow laws, literacy tests and poll taxes.

Even today, the voting rules aren’t perfect. States still have certain rights related to voting laws. For example, states have the right to decide how many days before an election someone has to register before she or he can vote.

Back to the ballot 

Even the mail-in ballot is a state decision. Washington was actually an early adopter, but mail-in voting is trending.

So get used to it.

Of course, the most important thing about voting is not the process. It’s the actual involvement in our democracy. You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth saying again: Your voice matters.

Your community needs you

Anybody paying any attention knows there is a great struggle going on nationally and in Clark County, as well.

It’s not unusual during elections for differences in candidates to be highlighted. But this year feels different. Much different. Lines have been drawn.

That’s why it’s so important for you to get involved.

Remember, the direction we take is up to you. When you vote, you become the boss. When you sit it out, somebody else becomes the boss.

• • •

You probably can see it as you’re reading this column. It’s sitting right over there. On the kitchen counter.

Honestly, it only takes a couple of minutes to fill it out. And when you’re finished, you’ll be very proud of yourself. That’s always the way I feel when I’ve mailed my ballot.

Get to it, please. The community will thank you.

And don’t bother with those Clinton/Trump chia head things. They’re not worth it.