This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.
Crunch time for voters arrives Tuesday. If you haven’t returned your ballot yet, remember that it must be postmarked by midnight on Election Day or put in one of many area drop boxes by 8 p.m. in order to be counted.
Not motivated enough this year? As a public service, we’ve come up with the top 10 reasons to return that ballot.
10. You get free license to complain if the candidates or ballot measures you voted for fall short on Election Day. There’s a little-known political etiquette rule that goes something like this: If you didn’t vote, then keep your yap shut.
9. Remember 2004. Even if you feel that your vote for president means little (the prognosticators tell us that Washington’s electoral votes are firmly in Barack Obama’s column), many down-ballot races and ballot measures need your vote.
Every year, recounts must be done in some races because they’re so close. Don’t forget the 2004 gubernatorial race – one of the closest in U.S. history. After recounts and a court trial, Chris Gregoire was declared the winner over Dino Rossi by the infinitesimally small margin of 133 votes.
8. Someone has to cancel out the vote cast by your idiot (fill in the blank with defective relative of your choice).
7. As soon as your ballot is recorded at the auditor’s office, the candidates and interest groups will leave you alone. If you’re still holding on to your ballot, you’re considered an undecided voter – and fair game for the robo-callers.
6. People fought and died so you could have the right to vote; you owe it to them to take that right seriously.
5. You received your ballot as many as 16 days ago. It’s under a pile of junk mail and catalogs on the dining room table . If you go through that pile hunting for the ballot, you will probably find a bill that needs to be paid soon, or it’ll hurt your credit rating.
4. You get to wear that “I voted” sticker – a fashion accessory that looks good with everything, especially that smug look on your face.
3. You paid for it, so use it. Elections are paid for by your tax dollars. Don’t you feel silly when you buy something – a Groupon, say – then forget to use it by the expiration date? Think of that ballot as a political Groupon that expires Tuesday.
2. If you vote, there’s actually a chance you’ll look at the voter’s pamphlet and learn something. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
1. And the No. 1 reason? You’re an American. So act like one – and vote.