A is for Absentee Ballot (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Wed, 18 Mar 2020

A is for Absentee Ballot

We're "praticing social distancing" with the COVID-19 virus active in New Mexico ... but fortunately, that doesn't mean we can't hike. It might be the most healthy thing we can do, as long as we all keep our distance from each other and don't carpool.

On this week's hike, someone told me about a fun activity: since a lot of her friends are stuck at home, they're trading emails where each day, everybody writes about something starting with a new letter of the alphabet.

Sounds like fun! So I'm going to join the game here on my blog. I'm not going to try for daily posts; I expect to post roughly twice a week, usually on light topics, not geeky tech articles.

I'll lead off today with a short note: a reminder to everyone to sign up for an absentee ballot, if your state allows that, so you can vote by mail rather than going to a polling place in person.

In this time of social distancing, you don't want to be at a crowded polling place touching the same screens or pens that everyone else has touched before you; and it would be better if poll workers weren't required to be there either. It would be so much better if we all voted by mail.

When Dave and I lived in California, the state had just switched to what they called "permanent absentee ballots": at least in the bay area, ballots were automatically sent to all voters. You could fill the ballot out at home, and then you had the choice of mailing them in or dropping them off at the nearest polling place. (This was thanks to our excellent then-Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who also fought against no-paper-trail voting machines and for increased ballot access.)

New Mexico still uses in-person voting, though I'm happy to say we use paper ballots and allow absentee voting without requiring any excuse. But this year, it looks like New Mexico will be encouraging voting by mail; our Secretary of State has a FAQ | ABSENTEE VOTING FOR THE 2020 PRIMARY ELECTION. page with details on how to sign up, and you must request your ballot for the primary by May 28.

Check the rules for your state (assuming you're in the US). If you haven't voted in the primary yet, check now, since time may be running out! For the November general election, you probably have plenty of time.

And if your state doesn't allow no-excuse voting by mail / absentee ballots, this might be time to call your governor or lobby your state legislators asking for an exception. It's a critical health matter, this year.

[ 20:58 Mar 18, 2020    More politics | permalink to this entry | comments ]