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Alan Riquelmy: Voting for what you really need

The second floor hallway of the Eric Rood Administrative Center stood empty.

Stickers on the floor informed voters where they should stand to maintain six feet of distance, but few people wandered past and there was no line.

I entered the building around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26, and was talking to an elections worker two minutes later. Fill out my information, sign my name and five minutes after that I was sitting at a table, filling out my ballot.



I imagine most people know how they’re going to vote when they get to this point. You’ve done your research, you know the candidates and ballot measures. All that’s left is to put pen to paper, feed it into the machine when you’re done.

But you still read over the propositions, one more time. You fill out of the squares with the care of a kindergartner coloring within the lines.



Then, seven minutes after sitting down, I was done.

I left, still no one in line, and walked down the stairs and out the front door. No one rallied just beyond the boundary for electioneering. No crowds snaked around coroners, waiting for their turn.

It seemed a sad end for an election season I thought might continue forever.

One reason for that fear: the constant barrage of information from which you cannot escape.

Social media, for all the good it can do, is usually a pile of refuse not worth considering, at least when politics is concerned. In addition to holding that distinction, it’s now become the reason for many of us to forswear our friends and relatives, denounce them, and hold tightly to a trophy of self-righteousness.

I’m right. You’re wrong. I can tell by the sign in your yard and the bumper sticker on your car. How easy it is to identify your enemies. How simple.

Treason and traitor — these words once had hard meanings. Now they’re just more effluent clogging the social media drains. I turn off the TV, but the election still hangs heavy over our heads, like a faulty Halloween decoration more scary because it could fall and crush us at any time.

Like that decoration, I hope we can now pack up the frightening ghouls and box them away for another two years, until we’re forced to dredge them out again. Zombies rising from the ground, campaign signs will again dot the landscape.

But not until 2022. Please, at least not until then.

As I write this column, the election hasn’t happened yet. It’ll print Wednesday, Nov. 4, the day after. Hopefully, we’ll have a good indication of who wins local races, even through they’ll still be ballots to count. I sincerely hope we’ll know who the president is, if for no other reason than we can turn the dial back from 11, and return to some sense of normalcy.

Regardless of your politics, I hope you contributed to the process.

It was surprisingly easy to do. Maybe you got lucky when voting early, missed the lines and was out with a sticker in record time. Or you might have dropped off your ballot at a designated spot. No doubt both options eased blood pressure.

Perhaps you were caught in a long line, but hopefully you soldiered through, cast your vote and left. There might have been people campaigning nearby, with horns honking and signs in the air. You might have rushed to your car, shut the door and turned off the radio.

You closed your eyes and thought, maybe just one more day until I get what I really need.

The end of the campaign season.

Silence.

Contact Acting Editor Alan Riquelmy at ariquelmy@theunion.com or 530-477-4239.


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