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My ballot arrived, now comes the big decision

October 25, 2004

I got my ballot in the mail on Saturday, after I had to call the county clerk’s office and inquire about it. It seems neither Lawrence’s or mine arrived when it should have, so they sent a second set. Now, I must say, that I love Oregon’s voting system. It was voted into place shortly after we moved here, so I have never had to step into a ballot box, ever. It is vote by mail, only. They do have little boxes in the county clerk’s office where you can go to fill it out if you so choose, but why would you do that when you can fill it out at home? You get it in the mail about a week in a half or two before the election, then you can either mail it or, if you don’t entirely trust the postal system or are too cheap to spend $.37, you can drop it in the drop box outside any county clerk’s office and a few other choice box locations, or if you are really, really paranoid, take it inside and hand it to a person.

I like the system for several reasons. First, convenience. If you don’t have to leave your job or other obligations on election day, then it seems to me that we would see much higher voter turn-out. Also, a form where you fill in the bubbles, seems so much easier than a voting machine, especially for technophobic people. A huge advantage is that I believe it has less risk of fraud. I can keep a copy of my voting record, something that I may not have the opportunity to do if I use an electronic voting machine that doesn’t provide a paper to verify my vote was correctly distributed.

Now, the hard part. I know that I have said I would vote for Kerry. I even have a yard sign. I am still leaning that way, but I am no longer certain that is how I should vote. I can’t stand Bush. I also can’t stand Kerry, to a slightly lesser degree. I also can’t stand that these are our only viable choices. So, my dilemma…we live in a battleground state. Kerry is polling at higher numbers here than Bush. The people who will be voting for Badnarik are people would likely have voted for Bush, not Kerry. You know, real conservatives, not neocons. So, my vote for Badnarik, while not counting towards Kerry, will hurt Bush in the same way that Nader hurt Gore in 2000. Kerry would get a plurality here, though not a majority and still win the electoral votes, while I voted my conscience, without risking a Bush victory. However, it is not a certainty that the votes would actually go the way they are polling, so therein lies the dilemma.

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