The Civic Process


I really mean to throw this letter out but it’s been bugging me. Shortly before the election I got one of those letters that tells you how often, according to public records, I’d voted in the elections and compared that to how often my neighbors had. It reported I had voted in only one of the past four elections, compared to the neighborhood average of two.

The thing is, that’s just not so. I’ve voted in all the November elections since I moved here, at least. So where do they get one vote out of four from? Maybe they’re thinking of those dinky little elections held at weird times when, like, there’s two people fighting for the right to fill in the last three months of a term on the district board of education, and I’ll admit to skipping those when I can’t convince myself I know enough about the situation to cast an informed ballot and none of the participants at least had the decency to plaster local street signs with hilarious campaign flyers about how the British Royal Family is involved in this somehow. But I know there weren’t four of those gone on the past year, when I’d voted in two of the election-gathering affairs.

So the letter haunts me: did they just make a mistake in the letter sent me? Did votes I cast for somebody or other back in August in the vote about something or other not register? Are they just making up stuff in the hopes of inspiring civic-minded people to have sleepless nights worrying about the integrity of the voting process? And why do this to me? Don’t I have better things to worry about? No, in fact, I don’t.

Now I’m not so egotistical as to think some mysterious shadowy organization went to a lot of bother to just make me self-conscious about stuff I do on otherwise slow Tuesdays. I hardly need help with that. They must be doing this for everybody they can name, although I don’t think they sent my love anything, come to think of it.