Letter to the Editor: Slam to the voters

Dear Editor:
On Page 4A of the Nov. 7 issue of the Rio Blanco Herald Times, I believe Mr. McMahon’s opinion concerning the integrity of voters who vote by mail-in ballot was quite a slam to the 2,000-plus recent voters of Rio Blanco County.
It appears to him that by going to the polls in person, each voter is more informed and concerned than a voter who mails his ballot in. “…Those who vote in person at least give a real darn about the outcome and are probably more educated about an issue than those folks who send their ballots in early.” Wow!
According to a front-page article the week before, the returns received (10 days) before election day were 712.
I wish Mr. McMahon had seen the foot traffic in the courthouse of those who hand delivered their ballots on Monday and Tuesday. And I wish Mr. McMahon had registered and voted at his place of residence before his unpatriotic comments about those who did vote were printed.
Voting is a private right and how each voter chooses to cast their ballot should not be open to insinuations of being inferior. And I’m not sure if Mr. McMahon knew the voters had the option of voting by mail or going to the polls to vote. The paper ballot was the same, either way.
I believe Mr. McMahon should apologize to the voters of Rio Blanco County. He is entitled to his opinion, but certainly should not use insults to support it.
Karen Arnold
Rio Blanco County
Treasurer/Public Trustee

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to the New York Times and backed up by the Wall Street Journal, nationally, between 38 and 47 percent of voters who send in ballots more than 10 days early have admitted to not reading up on the issues or the candidates before voting. Another interesting fact is that between 29 and 37 percent of those who cast early ballots (more than 10 days prior to Election Day) said they would like to have had the opportunity to change their votes. There were 2,141 votes total cast in Rio Blanco County, so one-third of the voters voted prior to 10 days early. That means two-thirds voted within the last 10 days. I think that is great. I wasn’t insulting anyone but was just pointing out the nationally recognized facts, which agree with me. I applaud all who voted and all who went that extra mile to read up on the issues and candidates before voting, and I am glad to see the majority of votes were received or cast in person on Election Day or the day before. I do not like mail-in ballots and probably won’t in the future. That is my opinion; nothing more. I don’t really believe that makes me unpatriotic.

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1 Comment

  1. Editor,
    Over looked in your response is the fact that in the recent election for the Meeker School Board, just slightly more than 53% of registered voters in that school district cast a ballot. I served seven years as a member of the county election board in a county with a population of just under 500,000 people.
    One of our biggest challenges during those years was how to get people to register and vote. Often times voter turnout was well below 50% of eligible voters which I found to be distressing.
    I too like the idea that citizen voters all consider “election day” as a sacrosanct obligation and that everyone who is qualified would be able and would go to the polls and vote in person–it’s a wonderful American experience.
    However, for whatever reason(s) that is not the case today. Thus, I reluctantly feel that in an effort to increase voter participation, that early voting avenues should be in place. I believe that we simply must trust that those who choose to vote early have studied the issues in question and know which candidates most closely reflect their opinion and point of view.
    Having grown up in Rio Blanco County I am certain that those who participated in this most recent election were well informed on the issues and very well acquainted with the candidates.
    As far as overall voter turnout and participation is concerned, I would hope that people in the community would feel as I do about the importance of elections; that they would inform themselves concerning the issues and candidates; that the press would undertake to robustly inform their readers of the issues and candidates throughout the period leading up to election day; and that all qualified electors would exercise their franchise on the important issues of the day.
    Perhaps then our political institutions will be lead by persons who are truly placed in office by as many citizen participants as possible.

    Jim Brown

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