If you haven’t cast your mail-in ballot for Tuesday’s election, you’re probably going to have to deliver it in person at this point.
I’ve had this happen to me before, but I remembered well enough in advance this year to open the envelopes last week.
It’s often a challenge to get Mrs. Joetopia to sit down long enough to fill hers out, and this year was no exception.
She had something else she wanted to do at that moment Wednesday night, so when I shoved the ballot across the table at her, she scowled, grabbed a pen and scribbled in a random bubble.
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I glanced over and gasped.
“You just voted for Kashkari!”
So then she filled in Brown as well.
“You can’t do that! Now your ballot is ruined.”
So much for my efforts to get our mail-in votes submitted in time. Hopefully Tuesday won’t be too crazy, and she’ll get over to the polling place to do it over. Because as dull as a lot of the competition is this year, there are some important races and issues.
Congress could go completely over to Republican control.
We’ve got a bunch of local measures asking us to pay more money for schools and sales taxes.
And the District 4 county supervisor race could significantly alter the balance of power on that board.
Meanwhile, we’ve got some of the most interesting city council races in years, and several have been heating up suddenly and unexpectedly.
In Arroyo Grande, the mayor was running unopposed until the late-night City Hall incident with the city manager exploded. Now, Tony Ferrara is being challenged by Jim Hill as a write-in candidate.
In San Luis Obispo, the council created some intrigue when it voted not to override the Airport Land Use Commission and thus failed to adopt an updated General Plan that would allow housing development at the south end of town.
And in Atascadero, mere weeks before the election, news broke that the cost estimates for improvements to the Del Rio overpass at Highway 101 are now triple what was estimated two years ago, leaving voters to wonder whether council members even read the staff report or just rubber-stamped Wal-Mart’s approval.
So we’ve got a lot to consider, all across the county, and yet many signs point to a potential poor turnout.
The June primary vote posted the lowest participation rate for any statewide election in California history. Only 25.2 percent of registered voters made the effort to cast a ballot, down from the previous low of 28.2 percent in June 2008.
In this county, turnout in the June primary also was unimpressive, with only 41.5 percent of registered voters casting a ballot, the worst number for a primary or general election since the county began keeping records in 1980.
I’m sorry, but this level of apathy is incomprehensible in a nation that prides itself on its superior form of democracy. How can we claim such pride and righteousness if we won’t even exercise this essential duty as citizens?
I find it very difficult to take seriously people who wave the flag like a pompom and then make no effort to cast their opinion in the single most American way they can — at the ballot box.
However you feel about the current state of the country, vote.
Even if your favored candidate is sure to get clobbered, vote.
If you don’t care about the judges, can’t make sense of the propositions and are fed up with Washington, someone in this county is still asking you to pitch in more in the form of tax increases.
Should you have to continue paying an extra halfpercent in sales tax when you shop at Costco? Does Cuesta College really need that $275 million bond?
It’s up to you to decide. You have the power.
On Tuesday, be areal American and let your voice be heard.