Crossposting from my tumblr, because this is important.

Okay.

I’ve talked about this on here a lot. But I think it’s important, so I’m going to talk about it one. more. time.

Reading about what’s happening in places like North Carolina and Virginia where folks are being harassed while trying to vote, or in some cases–I’m looking at you, NC–not being allowed to vote at all despite having stood in line for hours for the opportunity to do so, I’ve been feeling really despondent and frustrated–and I know my feelings cannot possibly be as strong as those of the folks actually experiencing this sort of bullshit.

I’ve been lucky in that my home state of Oregon has had vote-by-mail since 1998, two years before my first Presidential election as part of the voting public. I have never experienced a polling place or the unique gauntlet one must run to cast one’s vote. On the flip side, I’ve never gotten to wear an I Voted sticker, so you’ve got that going for you.

Voting by mail is incredibly easy. The county sends you your ballot by mail, generally two weeks before the election, and a voter information magazine that lays out all the candidates for every position as well as all the ballot measures. There is additional information enclosed as well, including yes & no arguments of varying length from community members/interests regarding said ballot measures. You can read these, you certainly don’t have to.

You fill out your ballot. You stick it in the unnecessary privacy envelope. You stick the unnecessary privacy envelope into the outer envelope. You sign the outer envelope. You drop said envelope into your mailbox or at a ballot drop-box in your general vicinity at your convenience. We had to queue behind a total of two cars ahead of us as the drop box location this year. It took less time than it does waiting in a fast-food drive-through queue.

My favorite thing about mail-in voting is that I have the time and the resources to make an educated, calm decision. I’m not stressed because I’ve been standing in line for 5/6/7 hours, listening to people around me complain, being made uneasy by dudes with guns (because this is apparently a thing that will now be happening; GO AMERICA!!). I’m not hungry, I’m not tired (any more so than usual); I am clear-headed and ready to fully consider all of my options and the measures before me.

We generally vote as a family; the folks & I sit down and read through all the local candidates with whom we’re unfamiliar. We discuss the ballot measures in great detail–we usually have differing opinions on at least two per election–and after our discussions we vote our consciences privately.

Oregon’s voting record per election is generally around 70%. The national voting record is somewhere in the neighborhood of 33%. Mail-in ballots increasing voting. Voting “fraud” is a joke and a lie that Republicans have been perpetrating forever in order to discourage or disenfranchise voters (particularly voters of color) from participating in the election process. Our long-time senator, Ron Wyden, has been fighting for mail-in voting for the whole of the United States for almost as long as he’s been in office. It still hasn’t come to pass.

WHAT I AM SAYING IS THIS: The only reason mail-in ballots aren’t the standard across the country is because the GOP knows that it will increase voter turnout. Increased voter turnout is bad for conservatives.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: I believe that getting mail-in ballots in every state is the best way to prevent an election like this one we’re suffering through right now from happening again in the future. Call or write to your congressperson; tell them you want to get mail-in ballots in your state. Or, do what Oregonians did and create a Citizen’s Initiative to get it enacted.

I’m sorry that everyone doesn’t have it as easy as I do when it comes to voting. But please, please, please go out and do it on Tuesday (if you haven’t done it already).

This is important. This is your future.

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