Saturday, June 4, 2016

How to Vote in San Luis Obispo County

There's More Than One Way to Vote

When I was first married, we used to look forward to walking to our polling place for each election. Now that we are fifty years older, we are permanent absentee voters. At our age, one just never knows if one will be able to go to the polling place on election day. I'm glad there's more than one way to vote. One can vote in person at the polling place,  one can vote early at the County Clerk's Office, or one can vote absentee.

How to Vote in San Luis Obispo County
Door to County Clerk's Office in Atascadero, © B. Radisavljevic

Voting Absentee

Many of us choose to be permanent absentee voters because we're never sure whether we will be physically able to get to our polling place on election day. People can also vote early in the Clerk Recorder's Office if they cannot go to their polling place on election day. Permanent absentee voters can mail their ballots in, allowing enough time for them to be received by election day. Postmarks may not count. Two authoritative sources conflict.

 One can also return absentee ballots to any polling place on election day. I chose to take my completed ballot to the County Clerk's office. I have never forgotten the time my mother in Paso Robles mailed a letter to her sister in Long Beach and it took two months to get there. It somehow went by way of Washington, D. C..

How to Vote Early or Return Your Completed Ballot to the County Clerk

For authoritative information, check the County Clerk's website. I returned my own ballot to the County Clerk's branch office in Atascadero. While there I saw people who were voting early. I took my ballot to the desk and asked the clerk to please check my envelope in case I'd made mistakes in the form of my signature. That's all there was to it. The hard part was finding the office. I didn't realize it was on the second story of the Atascadero Public Library building. It is. 

How to Vote in San Luis Obispo County
Atascadero Public Library, County Clerk's Office, Window for County Clerk's Office in Atascadero, © B. Radisavljevic

How to Be an Informed Voter

I have now done my civic  duty. I read all the literature, sorted through all the propaganda on television commercials, and got recommendations from people who know the candidates better than I do. It wasn't hard making up my mind about local candidates, since I've seen them in action, know their records, and can see through what they say to what they've done in office previously. Some of the candidates I know personally.

I believe voting entails more than making marks on a ballot. It takes a bit of research to vote intelligently. Sometimes it means getting involved in local politics, or at least attending a few city council or Board of Supervisor's meetings. If you've watched politicians in action after they are elected, you will be better able to judge whether they mean what they say when they want to be reelected. See Electioneering is in Full Swing in Paso Robles.

Some people skip primary elections, but if you do that, some local offices may be decided before they get to the general election and you will not have had a voice. If you vote at the polls or haven't mailed your ballot yet, try to ignore any last minute dirty politics. That's probably just what it is -- dirty. Many campaigns or
How to Vote in San Luis Obispo County
PACs like to tell lies when it's too late for a candidate to refute them before the election. Do your research, talk to people you trust who keep informed about local races, and stick with what you've decided beforehand when  the last minute mud is slung. If you really have no idea who is deserving of your vote, it's sometimes better to leave that one office or proposition blank rather than make an uninformed vote. It's far better though, to inform yourself. Cast your ballot, and you can get a sticker like mine. I'm better at voting than at taking selfies.

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