That irksome election cycle is almost upon us, again.  

Irksome because we’re supposed to familiarize ourselves with a bunch of people, most of whom we’ve never heard of before, then make choices among them. 

Who are all these people? Who has time to read up on all of them, then remember which ones we liked?

I seldom have. Usually, I’m passionate about who will be our next president or county commissioner or, maybe, U.S. senator. I know a lot about them, maybe less about their opponents. Whatever, I check the box in that section of the ballot and feel I’ve done my duty.

Except, each time I then find myself facing all those other choices – all those other boxes to check. I’m supposed to select one or more names from each. So, I twist my brain into knots, wish I had a better memory or I’d done my homework (too late), and make some choices.

Have you done this? Looked at the names, found one that’s familiar or the one with a big R after his/her name, and checked that box. 

I mean. No harm, no foul. Right?

Hmmm. You don’t need me to tell myself or to tell you that’s not precisely the case and not exactly what the founding fathers meant democracy to be.

But this year I’m not going to find myself in that position because I’m voting remotely. The ballot for the primary is sitting on my desk as we speak, just waiting for me to have the time to give it the attention it deserves. I’ll be able to consult my election specialist, Mr. Google, and call up the newspaper profiles on the candidates, check other sources and the candidates own websites, compare their views to my own and their backgrounds to the requirements of the job they’re seeking.

And, now, I’m making this process sound like work.  

Because it is. It’s the work of being a citizen and part of a great experiment we call democracy. It’s the “responsibility” part of the bookend concepts – freedom and responsibility. They go hand in hand. 

To keep our freedoms, we have to exercise our responsibility to vote. And vote responsibly.

Which is one of the reasons I’ve become a great advocate of remote voting. Yes. There are potential dangers of abuse. No. So far, the system hasn’t been abused. Yes. Some states may see a problem. No. Wyoming is not one of them. Our voting laws are great. The chances of abuses are slim to none.

However, if you’re one of the many who prefer to do their homework and then go to the polls, by all means, do so. If, like me, you want to let your fingers do the walking before using a pen on the ballot, do that.  

It’s easy. Just register to vote and call or visit the county clerk’s office for a ballot.

One way or the other. Learn about the candidates and ... VOTE.

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