This past Saturday, I stood at my kitchen counter for two hours and worked on my ballot. There was much to vote on: governor, representatives, propositions, judges, and the State Mine Inspector just to name a few. There were very few heated campaigns or hot button issues so I spent a lot of time reading through candidate statements, the pros and cons of the propositions, and the results of the judicial performance review. I was very grateful to AZ Central for providing information about the candidates for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.
I have always voted by mail. When I turned 18 and registered to vote, I lived in Oregon where everyone votes by mail. They don’t have polling places. They only have ballot drop boxes. It’s very convenient. When I moved to Arizona, I signed up to permanently get my ballot by mail. I have voted in a polling place once in my life – it was overrated.
While I was working on my ballot, I wondered how many people don’t look at the candidates or the propositions until they go into the voting booth. Do they just vote along party lines? What do they do about votes to retain judges or non-partisan races like the water conservation district? Do they just vote for the names that sound pretty?
One of my favorite voting memories was from the 2000 election. I was a senior at Oregon State University and a resident assistant in McNary Hall. I remember sitting on the floor in the hallway with some of my residents working on our ballots because they were due the next day. Nothing spectacular happened that night but I remember really talking about the candidates and the propositions before making my final choices.
I think every state should be like Oregon and only have voting by mail. It would force voters be more thoughtful about who and what they are voting for. It would also give them the ability to do more research on the candidates. I had some questions while I was working on my ballot and I sent emails to the candidates asking for their position on key issues.
It’s also more convenient to vote from home. One of my fellow law students is from Oregon. Like me, she’s a permanent voter by mail too. We were discussing this issue today and she said that she’s too lazy to go to a polling place. If she had to go farther than her mailbox to vote, it would be too far. I don’t think she’s lazy, just efficient.