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Vote by mail just doesn’t stir passion

Sun., Oct. 18, 2009

Ballots for the Nov. 3 general election were mailed out the other day.

All across Spokane County, voters have now received their ballots and carefully put them aside in a safe place where they will be forgotten until Nov. 4.

Call me unpatriotic, but I still can’t wrap my mind around the whole notion of mailbox democracy.

It’s so impersonal.

I liked the old system. I liked walking up to Franklin Elementary School. I liked signing in. I liked waiting for a crack at one of those clunky push-pin voter contraptions.

Maybe I’m imagining this, but I seem to remember there also being complimentary cookies.

Seeing my “official ballot” mingled in my mailbox among the junk ads, real estate fliers, Macy’s catalogs and cremation deals makes me feel grimy, like that time I followed my old man’s advice and voted Nixon.

That sure worked out swell.

Progress sucks.

And why do I get so many cremation offers in the mail?

Should I be looking into fire insurance?

Or should I act now and take advantage of the smokin’ hot savings?

Instead of voting this year, I may just stick my Sears bill inside the yellow security envelope and mail it back to County Auditor Vicky Dalton.

I know Vicky. I’m sure she’s good for it.

Oh, whom am I kidding?

I’ll probably vote.

I’ve always been a failure at breaking bad habits.

Besides, there are some very crucial issues facing Spokane.

Take Proposition 4, for example. That’s the ambitious proposal that would rewrite the City Charter into Sanskrit and give Spokane foliage same-plant marriage rights.

I was a little disappointed to see that voters are limited to just marking “Approved” or “Rejected” on Proposition 4.

There should be a third “Are you kidding me?” category that would involve deporting the crackpots behind the Prop 4 boondoggle to a Third World country.

Or Grant County.

I could always fill out my ballot and drop it off at one of the many library locations. That’s sort of an old-school compromise.

Hey, I see that the downtown bus Plaza is a drop-off destination, too.

Makes sense. The Plaza has always been a destination for dropouts.

In an added effort to confuse the electorate, Secretary of State Sam Reed has mailed out a State of Washington Voters’ Pamphlet.

This is not quite thrilling reading.

Let me quote from page 19:

“… amending RCW 2.10.030, 6.27.140, 10.77.205, 11.88.030, 26.60.040 …”

And that stuff goes on for more than a page.

I believe all the gobbledygook has something to do with one of those ballot measures like the referendum or the initiative.

Many voters don’t know the differences, so allow me to explain:

A referendum is a proposed law referred to the voters by the Legislature, or put on the ballot because of a voter petition.

And initiative?

That’s the character trait that seems to be lacking in just about every politician.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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