How I voted – and why you should care

The mouth of a ballot box with the text "Insert Ballot Here"Ballot Box (Photo: Cobb County Courier/Larry Felton Johnson)

This guest commentary is by Danny Stusser, publisher of The Journal of Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater (JOLT) in Washington state (published before Thanksgiving day).

It’s 27 days before Thanksgiving but never to early to be grateful. What does this have to do with “How I Voted”?

In case you’re wondering if I’m going to tell you which candidates and issues I voted for, sorry, but that’s none of your business. More important, it would be immensely arrogant for me to assume you’d want to know.

Finally, just to get this stated for the record: It’s policy at The JOLT to make no endorsements of candidates or use our humble pulpit to preach to you how you should vote. (That said, we solicit readers’ opinions about issues focused on Thurston County and its cities, both for and against.)

Back to how I voted. This will come as no surprise, but last Sunday I went into the living room, sat in my favorite old recliner and opened my ballot envelope. Then I penned in some 20 or so ovals, folded the ballot, inserted it into an inner envelope, put the smaller envelope into the external envelope, licked the external envelope and then signed my name on it. But I wasn’t done! I put on my jacket and walked about half a mile to a big steel box in a church parking lot and deposited my ballot.

These simple procedures took me around 15 minutes, maybe 20. Contrast this with what some 109 million US voters must do to exercise their right. In all but five states, unless a voter made an extra effort to request an absentee ballot, and the ballot arrived on time, voters stand in line, generally in cold autumn weather, for hours (as many as 12 hours, it’s been reported) so that they get to stand a few extra minutes standing behind a little booth to do exactly what I did in my recliner (but maybe by punching chads instead of coloring in ovals).

Pro Tip if you like to vote and need to move out of state: Stick to Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Utah, because those are the places where automatic mail-in ballot systems are in place. In addition, you might consider California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. because these states implemented this system just this once, for the upcoming elections. Total voters in these states and D.C.? 44.2 million, according to Reuters.

I’m grateful to be one of the 44.2 million instead of one of the beleagured or challenged 109 million. Happy early Thanksgiving to all of us here.

Danny Stusser is publisher of The Journal of Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater