Lindstrom: Mail-in ballots can lead to better decisions at the polls |

Lindstrom: Mail-in ballots can lead to better decisions at the polls

Gary Lindstrom
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I am being told by our local election officials that they are expecting to be slammed this year with a heavy voter turn-out at the General Election November 4.

I don’t doubt it at all with all of the new voters in the county, a presidential election, a United States Senate election, an election for United States Representative in Congress, Colorado State Senate, Colorado House of Representatives and at least six running for Summit County Commissioner from districts two and three. What a bunch of opportunities to shape our government for the next two years and beyond ” all for the price of a stamp. That does not take into consideration the 18 Colorado state ballot questions this year along with a couple of local questions about football fields and county tax extensions.

If you have never done it before, this is the time to contact the Summit County Clerk and get a mail-in ballot for this election.

You need to consider the value of your time. How much time do you take to drive to the polls, wait in line, stand looking over the ballot wondering what the candidates have said or what the issues are about, and then the time and energy going back home or to work again?

You have an alternative. You can contact the county clerk and ask for a mail-in ballot. A fairly recent innovation is that you cannot only ask for a ballot for this election but you can get a mail-in ballot for the rest of eternity as long as you stay at the same address and vote regularly. Imagine that! The gift that keeps on giving, and it does not cost anything other than a postage stamp to mail your ballot back to the courthouse.

With a mail-in ballot, you will receive a paper ballot in the mail. You can take it home and spend several days or, if you are early enough, you could spend weeks thinking over the selections on the ballot. I know that you have always made great choices in the past, but imagine how much better you will be if you get to sit at your kitchen table with a cup of coffee thinking about what you will vote for and against.

You can read the ballot and set it down for a few days so you can talk to your spouse, your family and friends about the issues so you can make an even better decision.

How many times have you gone to the polls, voted and then walked away asking yourself questions about the ballot? Voter’s remorse is where you end up questioning your decisions that you made quickly at the polling place. With a mail-in ballot, you don’t have to feel rushed at the poll. You have all the time in the world to consider your choices and hopefully know that you made the very best choice.

I have several friends who might think that there was some sort of cardinal sin in not going to the polls on Election Day. Some want to be the first in line, as if someone really gives it a thought. Since we have had early voting, you have to get in line a few weeks before the election to be truly first. Others have told me that it is a good place to meet friends and neighbors. Election Day is a social event. That is all well and good, but it is no longer 1955. It is 2008, where we meet and talk in cyberspace.

And last but not least, you do not have the slightest clue as to what the weather will be doing on Tuesday, November 4. Picture yourself sliding into a ditch in your frantic effort to get to the polling place during a snow storm or sitting at home safely watching the returns on the tube. In the nearly 50 years that I have been voting, I remember several days that a smart person would have stayed home and used a mail-in ballot.

Gary Lindstrom has lived in Summit County since 1974 and is a retired police officer and a recovering politician. He can be contacted at

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