|The 2015 Whatcom County Sample Ballot. Your ballot will be mailed starting October 14.|
Okay. Game On. On October 14 Whatcom County Elections will start both mailing and processing ballots. If, and only if, you are a new Washington Voter you may register in person at the Elections Office by October 26th. But if you have any problems with your previous registration at myvote.wa.gov, you should consider calling the Elections Office. The official deadline to change your address online was October 5th. But call them anyway if you have some problems. They are very friendly people.
For the rest of the 128K plus registered and active Whatcom County Voters, the 2015 General Election is now in play. An online ballot can found here, A sample ballot (displayed horizontally above) can be found here. Ballot drop box locations can be found here.
Here's my yearly recycled story on "How to fill out your ballot so you don't spoil it." (Please don't SPOIL YOUR BALLOT!). And here's my scandalous 2010 post that describes why I think you should take your ballot directly to Whatcom County Elections office. (I still don't trust those drop boxes...) Once you've mailed, drop-boxed, or personally delivered your ballot downtown, you can check the status of your ballot at myvote.wa.gov. It is a good idea to do this very soon after you drop/send/mail it in. That way, if there are problems, you can call the Elections Office and straighten them out. In the end, if your ballot is challenged, the Elections Office is going to call you and give you a chance to "cure" your ballot. But why go through that? Fill out your (whole) ballot early, send it in, check that it has been received, and have a nice day. What a great world we live in!
[This part for students]And now we get down to brass tacks. Because if you made it this far through this post, you are probably thinking, "So what am I voting for this year, Ryan. Because: no President, no Senate, no Congress, no Legislators...it's just a whole ballot of confusing local issues and I really don't live here.."
OK. STOP RIGHT THERE.
Yes, you do live here my friend. Otherwise you wouldn't be receiving a ballot. And whether you live here nine months of year or not really isn't the point. At one point in the history of Whatcom County, there used to be criticism of "illegal" student voters. The "property rightista" class just figured you shouldn't be participating here. Such b*llshit. The future of this place and every other place belongs to you. Because, my brothers and sisters, by now almost everyone who is older than you has screwed this part and every other part of the Earth royally. Look around you. Do you really think we found the solutions? And I don't mean to lay a heavy trip on you. But if your generation doesn't fix things...well, let's just say nobody else is coming to rescue. In truth, most of the really successful people my age or older have been busy absconding with your parent's pensions funds. Or fighting useless, expensive wars of terror against people of color who live in stone houses . Or sucking the wealth out or rare earth mines with child labor. If you are eighteen by the time an election rolls around, you get to vote. Please do. WE NEED YOU TO.
[This part for the traumatized]Well, perhaps you've hit rock bottom. In and out the Whatcom County Jail. In Debt. Struggling. Lost family. Lost friends. And you've concluded you just have no reason to participate. The system has never been kind to you and you just can't see why you should struggle through all this complicated voting sh*t because nothing is really going to change anyway...
OK. STOP RIGHT THERE.
Do you really believe you are the first person to be thrown under a bus? I got bad news for you friend. In this cruel world, even the best and the brightest of us have seen more adversity than we can stomach to remember. Life isn't just unfair, it's thematically and regularly traumatic. Even if you have a high IQ. Even if you have people who love you. Even if you have resources that assure you probably won't hit bottom. Even if...yeah, you still get your ass kicked by life anyway. With Authority. Hey, I've done 53 years on this rock. What is life like?
But none of this means that *you* shouldn't vote! In fact, the more aggrieved you are, the more reason you have to vote! If 'they' could, the powers of this Earth would take away from you every last bit of pride, ownership, decency and honor they could. Don't let them. Tell them from your ballot that you still matter. Tell them that you won't stop voting and making choices for a better future no matter what. Tell them you count! So go on then: VOTE!
[This part for the fearful and unsure]
Yes, ballots are really quite complicated now. We have so many layers of government. Even in an off year like this one, there are a number of critical issues that require your attention. But, you say, I am really just not the political type and there are so many things right in front of me that I need to worry about and I really don't think I'm smart enough to make a correct political judgments...
OK. STOP RIGHT THERE.
We don't test you in this country to see if you should vote! Well, we used to do that for people of color, then we realized that was wrong and we stopped and we created a voting system that is fair and equal for all! At least it should be. And that's exactly why you should vote now. Long after we created a beautiful document called the Constitution, our country forbade or just outright discouraged many people of color, women, and many ethnic groups from voting. That just didn't work out well in the end. People have fought and died for the right to vote. People are still fighting and dying for an equal system, an equitable life, a government responsive to them and their families!
Yes, I know. The political system is a mess. But actually, it's always like that anyway. And really the only thing that keeps our society from descending into warlords, anarchy and violence is your participation in our democracy! As the founders often noted, your government is only successfully sustained if you choose to participate in it. The stability of the nation state doesn't descend from on high. And no, in a brutal world organized by greed, love doesn't conquer all. You and I maintain the stability of our world with our integrity, effort, discipline, leadership. It's that simple.
Don't you want to play your part in all of that? Don't you believe you have what it takes to help? To be a responsible citizen? A committed member of democratic society? Brothers and Sisters, I know you do. Please VOTE!
More is coming. Because it wouldn't be a political blog if I wasn't going to tell you about the issues and try to convince you to vote this way or that. So keep your head down. Make sure you are ready for your ballot because for now:
I STOP RIGHT HERE.