Granted, there is something to be said for the American tradition of signing in at your designated polling place and casting ballots the old-fashioned way.
But in Cottonwood, tradition and civic obligation are not cutting it. That’s why Cottonwood should join the crowd and opt to take the easy way out with a mail-in ballot.
In last Tuesday’s primary, only 15 percent of Cottonwood's voters showed up to vote the old-fashioned way. In Camp Verde, which, like Clarkdale, uses a mail-in balloting system, 57 percent of the voters cast ballots. Those numbers parallel with what we saw two years ago when 15.75 percent of Cottonwood’s registered voters voted and Camp Verde had a 55.15-percent voter turnout.
Or, to put it another way, under Cottonwood's traditional method of voting, even few voters today are participating in local elections than they were two years ago, while in Camp Verde the percentage of people who vote has gone up.
Or, let's look at it this way: Cottonwood has 321 more registered voters than Camp Verde, but Camp Verde has 1,746 more voters once the final votes are tallied.
And here's another point of comparison, three years ago in the spring municipal election in Clarkdale, another town that uses all-mail balloting, 66 percent of that community’s voters cast ballots.
It’s a sad statement about our society when tradition and obligation lose out to ease and convenience. But let’s face it, who among us doesn’t from time to time take the easy way out. The fast-food industry with its drive-through lanes and 99-cent specials has made a bundle off our laziness.
Mail-in election ballots are a sign of these times. The traditional method of voting just doesn’t attract the masses any more. If the ultimate objective of conducting an election is getting people out to vote, you’re obviously going to have better luck accomplishing that goal with a mail-in ballot. The proof is there.
Cottonwood needs to join the club and make it easy and convenient for voters.
So much for tradition.
So much for obligation.
Just make it easy.