Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Time to get involved in the voting process

Absentee voting began March 27 in Laramie County for the 1 percent Specific Purpose Optional Tax. The turnout should be pretty good as it’s all about the money. We’ll be voting for items large ($55 million Cheyenne recreation center) and small ($60,000 to replace the sprinkler system at the Pine Bluffs cemetery).

This is only the first vote of three this year. Here’s the full schedule from the Laramie County Clerk’s office:

May 6: Specific Purpose Tax Election
May 15-30: Filing period for City, County, and State Offices
July 10: Start Absentee Voting for Primary Election August 6-25 Filing Period for School Board, Community College Trustee, and Special Districts.
August 19: Primary Election
August 22: County Canvassing Board Meets
September 25: Start Absentee Voting for General Election November 4 General Election
November 7: County Canvassing Board meets

If you interested in working at the polls on May 6, August 19 and/or November 4, the county clerk needs election judges. I was a judge for the 2006 elections and it wasn’t exactly a blast but I did have fun and learned a lot. We have four precincts voting at the community house in Lions Park. Judges (a balance of Democrats and Republicans) are trained to give tips on using the electronic touch-screen machines and paper ballots. We keep their eyes out for anything peculiar. We sign of on our precinct’s results and accompany the sealed documents to the county clerk’s office. Judges get trained and paid.

It seems to me that this year's state legislature passed a bill allowing election judges to work four-hour shifts instead of a full -hour day. I'll have to look that up. My jobs allows a day off to work at the polls. On each election day, we get time off to vote. This is not true for everyone. It might be easier for young people and other working people to get four hours off to work at the polls instead of an entire day. You might be tempted to let the retired folks do the work. They already do! They welcome judges and poll watchers and others under 65, even Baby Boomers like me. The last I heard, citizens in the age range 18-65 are allowed to vote and be involved in the election process.

If you're interested, call County Clerk Debbye Lathrop at 307-633-4268.

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