Do voters really care what candidates have to say? One may not think so after seeing the piles of discharged General Election Voters’ Pamphlets left behind at the Sunnyside Post Office counter on Monday, October 12.

The voters’ guide is provided free of charge to voters by the Secretary of State Office. It’s a complete compilation of the background and personal statements provided by candidates seeking elected office.

Dutifully delivered by our local Post Office workers, who are just as committed to delivering the ballots this week. As the pile of discarded guides grew, it seemed clear that mail service customers had little respect for their efforts, despite the always present complaints about slow mail delivery – it must be disheartening for the USPS employees to see the guides tossed aside.

We live in a digital age where an enormous amount of rich and colorful information is available on devices which are seamlessly connected to the world wide web. Our demand for faster, newer, better multimedia materials is always growing.

But we’re also fortunate because we have an opportunity to read the guide, get in-depth information about our candidates and bills before mailing back or dropping off our ballots by Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Our system, in place since 2005, allows for our ballots to be safety, despite COVID-19, be mailed back in time to be postmarked for the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.

County elections officials have said this is a big year for voters across the county. The County Elections office is expecting an 80 to 85% turnout. The Post Office has assured voters their ballots will be delivered, both to their homes and back to the election’s office.

This year the stress surrounding the voting process is at a fever pitch with rumors of mail fraud being tossed about as truth. Because of the pandemic more voters are experiencing vote by mail than ever before in our nation’s history.

The reassuring comments from government officials and the postal workers we know and talk to every day, reassure us the mail will go through, regardless.

Votes count but so do educated voters. Voting being one of our most precious rights means we should look deeper at the people we want to have represent us in the halls of government.

Make no mistake, if we don’t tell them how we feel by our vote, there are plenty of special interest lobbyists who will pay for our lawmakers vote on things that matter to them.

So, it would seem local postal customers feel the 144-pages of information, in English and Spanish, about presidential, congressional and local representative candidates and the judges who uphold the laws is unimportant.

Maybe they are among those who believe their vote doesn’t matter, so why bother reading about Referendum Measure No. 90, which would require school districts to adopt and develop comprehensive age-appropriate sexual health education. There is a lot of information floating around that issue, meanwhile, the people who left behind their voters’ guide at the post office won’t learn what the measure is supposed to do.

All that extra voter guide recycled materials at the post office, makes us wonder if mail customers will treat their ballots coming out this week in the same manner.

Washington State Elections didn’t assemble this publication to lead voters astray. It is not in the interest of any campaign to encourage their own supporters and likely voters to make misinformed decisions this way or even worse, not to vote at all.

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board.

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