Ready to Vote

Voting is simple, democratic and secure

By Mike Jopek

It’s now that part of 2020 when a voter can just walk into the election office and vote absentee. Bring that ID or a paystub, utility bill, or bank statement to vote or register. Voting details are online at the county website. It’s simple and secure, no big deal. You get two votes this big every decade.

The Flathead County Election Department is located at 40 11th St. W., Suite 230 in Kalispell. It’s the only polling place open countywide.

Next week, 2020 election ballots should arrive by U.S. mail to registered voters throughout the valley. Mail them back promptly. You can walk in to the election office to return a ballot or just vote absentee while there. If you don’t receive a ballot, you can vote in person.

Voting is simple, it’s democratic, and secure. A bit over 100 years ago the state Legislature appointed the U.S. senators and regular people didn’t have a direct say. Montana helped ratify the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913 turning the elections of senators to a statewide vote of the people.

In his new book titled “Grounded,” Sen. Jon Tester wrote about days, a hundred years earlier, when envelopes full of crisp one thousand-dollar bills were seen in the state capitol in Helena.

Tester’s book offers plenty of pointed blunt insight into winning back rural America. It’s a good read about land, family, community and politics in Montana. I’ve enjoyed it. The book worked many memories.

A younger Tester and a very bipartisan state Legislature helped pass many of the election laws we use today. Those laws help makes voting very easy and secure in a big, rural Montana.

That Legislature also enabled absentee mail ballot laws that helped rural Montanans vote throughout numerous election cycles. The process worked so well its prepared rural Montanans and election workers for the second all-mail election during a nationwide pandemic.

There’s a lot in the 2020 ballot that will interest voters. There’s clear vision for better days ahead. There’s equality and the security of health care. You’ll find answers to how soon before the coronavirus abates. You’ll find jobs and justice in the 2020 ballot.

Today’s election offers voters stark choices on reproductive rights, marriage equality, and a whole bunch of freedoms we take by liberty. Rights that people fought lifetimes to acquire.

You won’t really see any of those words on the ballot, but the choice you make today on the people you vote to move us forward, secures the future for decades, yes decades. It’s your choice, your one vote.

It’s really tough out here for young workers and retirees, pretty much everyone. The past year has proved exhausting. There’s an uneasy fatigue plaguing our valley as the sickness spreads locally much like tomfoolery flourishes in D.C.

We need more Democrats like Tester in office, ones who know how to govern, know how to fix things that are broken, or budge a little and occasionally holler. We need people who can work with all kinds of other people living in the towns and cities throughout Montana.

This is a big deal friends. Get yourselves to the polls. Bring your friends. Go vote absentee in-person in Kalispell, drop off next week’s all-mail ballot at the election department or mail it back early.

Do it now. Ballots must be returned, in Kalispell, by Nov 3. Help out, do your part, and vote. The virus and economic suffering must end.

Our fight is not with each other, rather the contagious sickness that is killing local people and crippling our jobs. I know many moderate Republican friends feel the same way. Go ahead, vote for the Democrats that work as hard as Jon Tester.

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