MAIL-IN VOTING

Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

After unlocking the front door, I stepped onto the brick-paved porch. AH! Drier, cooler air met me as I strode toward the mail box. I slid a blue birthday enveloped card into the by the curb box and lifted the “pick-up” flag. Returning to the house, I picked up the “Gainesville Sun” in its protective plastic bag. I paused and looked up the empty street.


(see image below)


Green trees! Not much like fall. Missing red, orange and yellow fall maples and oaks of Indiana and Michigan, I sighed. Will I be there to see fall next year?
The question was just one of several on my mind. I also entertained, “When will I get vaccinated for COVID 19?” and “Who will win the presidential election?”
I carried the newspaper into the house, shucked its plastic wrapper and scanned the front-page headlines. (Because of the distressing behaviors commonly reported, I had stopped reading past the tall bold print.) The news reminded me of the Everly Brothers’ pop hit from 1958, “Problems, problems, problems all day long! Will my problems turn out right or wrong? …” Many matters I have no control over, but I can at least vote on the political situation.
Within two days of receiving my mail-in ballot, during the first week of October, I marked it. I also drove to the post office and dropped the long pink envelope into the collection slot. I want to be sure there’s l-o-t-s of time to get my vote counted!
Meanwhile, candidates and their staff were still working hard to get my vote. One mode was by phone. To avoid all kinds of commercials, neither JK nor I answer ours if we didn’t recognize the number. But I get texts on my smart phone! One group thinks I am “Christina.” I get ALL manner of political mes-sages for her. She must be a party affiliate or a frequent financial donor! Seeing all those texts and money requests helped me appreciate the wide reach of both political machines!
Later in the day, I experienced more of those machines when I returned to the mailbox to retrieve bills and an occasional letter.

(see image below)


Instead, I usually saw lots of political ads. These large and small, multi-colored, glossy fliers went straight into the re-cycle bin. I’m not an undecided voter! Neither is JK.
One piece of mail was addressed to me by name. Read-ing it made me a little worried. It was a third letter from The Voter Participation Center in our state capitol. (Since JK and I are “Independents” it probably did not come from a political party.) The group was encouraging me to vote. Before my ballot had arrived, I had gotten a notice from them saying I needed to vote.
After I voted, I got a second letter indicating I had NOT voted yet. They probably haven’t caught up with my ballot yet. The letter in my hand was the third from them! It still showed I had NOT voted. I sent my ballot over two weeks ago!
My mind spun with questions. Was my ballot lost in the mail? Did I make some error and it’s not going to be counted? I voted by mail before. I know how. But I had another thought. Maybe I’ve been mailing ballots that didn’t count for years!
I noticed the letter had been addressed to “Frances” and included my middle (maiden) name. Oh-oh! I didn’t sign my ballot that way. I used my “legal” signature: “Frances” and an initial for my long, middle name. If my vote didn’t count, maybe I can show up in person and vote. I’ll call and see what I can find out.
The letter listed a web site to visit for a local phone number. I checked the site and called in. I explained I was not sure my ballot had been received because of the letter I got. “I’m worried my signature wasn’t right.”
A friendly female voice asked for my name and birthdate. I heard her tap a keyboard and then she announced, “Your signature was fine. Your ballot was counted on October 6!”
“Oh, thank you!” I wished the lady a good day.
Whew! I’m not part of the mailed-in voter error trouble!
Unhappy about the continued division of our country, rioting and wrangling I see on TV news, I often felt powerless. To counter that feeling, I told myself, I am not helpless. I can vote!
And I did! I am blessed to live in a country where I, a woman, can vote.

Up the street
The mail truck stops when the flag is up.
Frances Fritzie

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