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Does anyone else miss going to the precincts to vote?

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The election is 14 days away.

So I finally received my ballot in the mail yesterday. Can I go ahead and say it: I miss voting at a polling place.

Yes, I am among those who predicted that vote-by-mail could be tainted by fraud. By all studies, I was wrong. Yes, I am among those who thought voter turnout would not be affected by vote-by-mail. I was wrong; voting declined in Oregon after we went to the mail-only system, but it declined slower than voting in other states (this stat from Secretary of State Bill Bradbury).

OK, so vote-by-mail has been a whacking great success. I concede.

But I still miss filling in my 3-x-5 card with my votes, then grabbing a cup of coffee at a mom-and-pop java joint, and standing in line at an elementary school or a church or a union hall, first thing in the morning, just for the opportunity to step up to the booth, study my notes again, and vote in public.

There was something civic about that. Something patriotic. Something communal.

At least, when I lived in Salem, I could wait until election day and walk my ballot over to the Marion County Courthouse with all the other downtown workers. That dredged up a little of the pat-yourself-on-the-back sentiment I used to get by going to the precincts to vote. The same is not as easily done in Multnomah County, where I live today.

So I’ll probably just go to my girlfriend’s, or we’ll meet for drinks, and fill out our ballots together (who says I don’t know how to show a girl a good time).

Send your feedback to And thanks in advance.

About Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »


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