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Voting in a pandemic

To the editor:

It’s nice to go to the polls and greet neighbors. But not during a pandemic. And not if you and two or three tired, cranky children are waiting in line after you’ve worked all day. Those closest to the door may have a chair, but often the line of voters stretches far beyond the line of chairs. Add in masks and social distancing, and you have misery and, for some, discouragement.

Now comes an absent voter application. If you return it signed, the clerk will verify that you are a qualified and registered voter and will send you a ballot. If you have children, this is a ready-made civics lesson as well as an example of responsible citizenship. You sit at your own table and fill out your ballot, explaining to them as you go. Take your time. There is no one waiting for your place in the polling booth. Return it by mail or in person, but get it there by the required date and time. If by mail, the Postal Service recommends that you allow seven days. You needn’t be concerned about voting early. If you change your mind (for example, your candidate drops out),you can request a new ballot. Your clerk will give you a new ballot and destroy the old one. In Michigan, you may still opt to vote in person. In that case, simply do not return your absent voter request. There are several states that have gone successfully to all-mail voting. I believe this is the wave of the future, at least until someone finds a way to make online voting more secure.

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