Apr 24, 2008

OK, let's talk about votes

Let's talk about votes, but not the presidential.
Let's talk about the vote in local elections, for major, council members and all that stuff that impact our lives on a daily basis.

Last month I casted my vote for the first time since I live in the United States. It was with a mail-in ballot.

It was not the dreamed image of myself in a voting location, moving my arm down the box to deposit my little piece of paper --thinking in the past, when I was forced to vote in a farce where I always ended up with not-valid ballots due to the phrases I used to write on them-- but it was important anyway.

It was a turning point for me as individual with a past where I never had the chance to cast my vote in a truly free election, and as a new citizen of this great country that has given me and my family countless opportunities.

We're talking about municipal elections in the second largest city in Weld County, that this year was conducted with a mail-in ballot for the first time, therefore, local officials were projecting an increased participation due to the convenience of sending the ballots by mail.

We're talking about a city that, while often overlooked, has grown a lot, both residential and commercially speaking. A city in northern Colorado (un campito, I know) that has evolved to conduct online surveys to the residents, that is bringing a Sam's Club and whose city council recently approved regulations to develop a metro district project.

Well, I guess in this growing city only a bunch of people are interested in voicing their positions regarding the issues that affects our daily living. Last month, 5097 ballots were mailed for the municipal elections and 1,131 were returned and counted. A mere 22.19%, based on my own calculations.

Not that bad, they said.
In the 2006 municipal elections, when mail-in ballots where not used, only 461 people voted.

I'm glad I voted for the major that won the seat. (I hope he will not disappoints me). But I wish more people around here were Cubans or were really close to what is an election in Cuba or that more people would have read this.

Maybe, and just maybe, they would have given their votes the whole power it has.
And please, do not fool yourself; I'm not more patriot that anyone else. I just don't take it for granted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Congratulations in meeting your civic duty! I feel the same way! My family left Cuba's communism when I was 4 yrs old. I have not missed participating in a single election (local, state and national) from the day I turned 18 and could vote! Like you stated, is something that those who come from totalitarian and oppressive systems don't take for granted. As the saying goes, sometimes we don't miss things until these are taken away from us.

I have also participated in the elections, by working in the polls ... it's a great experience . . . I highly encourage others to become involved and appreciate the entire democratic electoral system.

I wish you well :) Melek

"The vote is a trust more delicate than any other, for it involves not just the interests of the voter, but his life, honor and future as well." ~ Jose Marti