Here’s the deal: educated voting on a local level for judges, city and county officials, and even sometimes state-level representatives can be like taking a test. Sure it’s open-book or open-smartphone, but who wants to be standing in a ballot box for 2hrs trying to make all the right decisions. Let’s face it, most of us, especially life-hacker types, end up checking the “straight ticket” option for one party or the other, simply because we don’t have time, and/or didn’t study up on all the lower-level officials.
When it comes to State-constitutional amendments, propositions, and other issues, it’s hard to keep them straight, even if we know which way we want to vote. The fact is, we wish we’d taken time to research local candidates, issues, and propositions, but we didn’t. If the booth was comfortable and provided a computer, we’d love to research many right then and there, but there’s a lot of social pressure provided by the line behind us, to get-out fast. And really, wouldn’t you just like to avoid all that madness altogether?
Research & Vote From Home
The solution is very simple: get an absentee ballot, then research candidates and issues as you fill it out, in the comfort of your own home, chill-axing on the couch with your laptop or iPad. Heck, make it a family affair and go over things with your spouse (of course if your spouse is like my Dad who always joked that his vote just canceled out my Mom’s, maybe you’ll want to do it privately). You can use the resources we shared previously for researching candidates, issues, lobbyists and more.
In Utah it’s a pretty easy process. You can just use their online voter registration tool to register as an Absentee voter. Additionally Long Distance Voter and the US Vote Foundation provide links and resources for absentee ballot requests in all 50 states. At least in UT, you can even mark on there that you’d like to be marked as one permanently, so you’ll automatically get absentee ballots for each election in the future.
Keep Your Info Updated
As an interesting side note, I assume this is how a lot of voter fraud happens, assuming it does. My wife’s Mom said she receives absentee ballots for all 5 of her adult children each year from the State of Washington where she lives, though 4 of the 5 (including my wife) live outside Washington, and have for years. So if you do this, make sure to update your information in the future, so somebody else doesn’t vote in your name. Also vote for measures that update and secure our voting system so you can more easily keep your information current, wherever you live.
Mark Dates, Set Goals
Lastly, pay attention to the dates. You have to submit your absentee request by a certain day, and send in your completed ballot by a certain day. If you miss those, you’ve wasted your time. I encourage you to submit the request immediately using the online form for your state. Then make yourself a deadline to return it within a few days of receiving it. Make it a family home evening activity if you need to. Just VOTE!