I voted. Did you?

Do you really expect me to take time out of my busy day and go to a polling place?

MISSOULA, MONTANA — Greetings from the Big Sky Country.

As I look out my window today there are a few dark clouds, but I like to focus on the beautiful blue sky that is just above those clouds. It still isn’t a Montana winter yet but it did get down to the 20’s overnight.

The good news for me — mowing is over for the season.

Now to my story.

I voted yesterday.

Well, that’s not really accurate.

I actually mailed my in ballot over a week ago, but yesterday they should have counted my ballot.

The Old Days

In the old days, when the day to vote came around, I had to go to the local polling place, an elementary school gymnasium, to cast my ballet.

I stood in line and identified which table was for my name. The person at the table looked me up on a list, asked me to show my ID, then then told me to sign the list next to my name.

Then the civic-minded volunteer poll worker gave me a ballot and I went to a “booth” where no one could see how I was marking my ballot.

When I was finished I deposited my ballot in a machine, and another poll worker gave me a sticker that said “I Voted”.

I placed the sticker on my shirt and went about my day.

And I always felt good, but not necessarily about the candidates running for office. I was often disappointed in the choices. But I felt good that I had played an important part in our country’s process for choosing our leaders.

I used to teach History and Government in high school, and I was always excited explaining how our elections worked because I thought we had one of the best election systems in the world.

The key element of that system was the secret ballot.

No one could see how I voted. 

No one.

Things Have Changed

But things have changed.

I now receive my ballot in the mail several weeks before election day. It usually sits on my counter for several weeks until I fill it out and mail it in.

No trips to the polling place. No kind volunteers to check me in. Just drop the ballot in the mail box.

I will grant you it’s very convenient.

But I hate it!

Why?

Because there are so many things along the way where what was once a secret ballot could be compromised.

My wife and I have a great relationship, I describe it as perfect, but I know many people don’t have a good relationship with the person they live with. In that situation it is possible for one partner to, shall we say, “influence” the other partner on how they should vote.

“Influencing” has been around for a long time.

Under the old voting system you could say you agree with the way the other person wants you to vote, but when you got into the voting booth you could vote anyway you wanted, and no one would know because it was a secret ballot.

With the mail-in ballot another person can watch you to make certain you vote “correctly.”

Which voting system do you prefer?

You also might live in a household where a person doesn’t care about politics at all. Under the old system, they would never interrupt their day to go to a polling place.

But their ballot is now delivered to your home. Would you tell them they had to vote? If they told you they weren’t going to vote would you fill the ballot out anyway and send it in?

If you care for someone who has Alzheimer’s who doesn’t understand any of the issues on the ballot or know anything about the candidates running for office, would you fill out their ballot “correctly” and send it in?

I could go on. The possibilities for corrupting our election system seem endless.

In fact, in Europe, most nations recognize the fraud that can be exercised with mail-in ballots and they ban or severely limit it’s use.

But in America certain politicians are pushing to mandate mail-in ballots. Do you think politicians and special interest groups would take advantage of the possibilities of fraud for their own benefit?

Think about it.

The Voting System in My County

A recent review of voting in my home county, Missoula, revealed a number of questionable actions:

One group investigating voting reviewed EVERY mail-in ballot in the county and found that 4,592 of the 72,491 ballots did not have envelopes. It is against the law to count such ballots but they were counted.

In a review of 15,000 randomly selected mail-in ballots the group found 55 did not have dates and 53 did not have signatures checked. They should not have been counted.

It was also found that 28 envelopes from one nursing home appeared to have the same signature.

Montana is a small state population wise. It is not uncommon for candidates for local or state offices to win by just a few hundred votes.

Do you think the mail-in ballots are a good option for those wanting a fair election?

Or, would we be better off returning to the old way — having to go to a polling place and proving you are an eligible voter and then being able to fill out a secret ballot?

It’s amazing how our culture has been on a rush in recent years to re-define words. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the movie Princess Bride and hearing Inigo Montoya saying to Vizzini, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

Check out the video below and see what one former president had to say about the meaning of words.

I have to admit this review might be just a little bit self-serving.

You see, this is a story I wrote.

Okay, maybe a lot self-serving.

“The Last Patriot” is a short story about harvesting votes.

I wrote this in 2011 which, if my math is correct, is long before people began talking about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

But enough of the self-serving talk.

I encourage you to read the short story. The Kindle version is available for free … as in FREE … as in, it doesn’t cost you anything.

Even if you don’t like reading short stories, you’ll hurt my feelings if you don’t order it.

So, please order it.

Pretty please.

I run across a number of interesting items in the course of a week, and I thought I’d share a few of them with you. Check them out.

Dads on Duty”  A short (2.5 min) news report on CBS about how a group of fathers stepped in to bring peace to a troubled high school.

Teen runner pushes brother in wheelchair so they can compete together” This news story (4 min) was a tear jerker for me.

Before I go I’d like to share a blessing with you from the Old Testament.

“May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26 (The Living Bible)

Until next time … be the reason someone smiles today!

Clint

NOTE: The “I Voted” photo was created by Element5 Digital from Pexels