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Beware the Bolivians

Kim and I voted in the Colorado Democratic Primary today. We didn’t stand in line, having to social distance, we didn’t have to wait for hours. It wasn’t even “election” day.

It was just another voting day in Colorado, where we are mailed ballots weeks ahead of time and are given the time to consider our choices and then either mail them in or take them to designated ballot boxes. We like the ballot box option. It seems more official.

As were approaching the ballot box, we saw two men opening the box and removing the ballots. Never one to let an opportunity for a joke to go by, as we approached, Kim asked, “Are you the Russians coming in to steal our ballots?”

Without batting an eye, one of the men replied, “Oh no; we’re the Bolivians.”

Now, I was not aware that the Bolivians were planning to disrupt our election process, but apparently, it’s a thing.

Anyway, a fair amount of jocularity ensued, but then the men explained the process they were involved in. First of all, they worked in pairs: one Republican, one Democrat—so that there would be no funny business. The actual ballot bins were able to be closed and then sealed with a coded clasp which was then scanned with a special tool which also scanned the ID placards they wore around their necks.

I asked if my special decoder ring would do the same thing, to which one replied, “Maybe, but then we’d have to kill you.” Having binge watched every episode of “24” and most of “The Americans,” I’ve come to realize that spies these days can look just like your neighbors. Still not completely trusting that these two fairly ordinary looking guys were not South American operatives, I kept my decoder ring to myself and was able to avoid a potential international crisis, but upon grilling these two, we were able to get them to confess that they were actual retired Americans, “volunteering,” making $17.42 an hour, working for the state.

We handed over out ballots proud to have done our civic duty.

Colorado has been voting like this since 2013, and I was impressed with the formality and sense of regulation around the process. Are there unscrupulous minds out there that can find ways to undermine the system? I’m certain there could be those that would try to further their own ends, but personally, I love this system (you also have the option of voting in person on election day—which I think should be a national holiday, btw). In my more optimistic moments, I like to think that fairness will prevail and those that get elected will truly represent the will of the people and that the more people that vote, the more just that representation will be.

I googled Bolivia and elections and it looks like they’ve had some issues there with voter tampering (if I am to believe the articles I read). These are trying, uncertain times, but I was encouraged watching our American process at work today.

I’m glad those two guys were not wearing those ill-fitting hats that some Bolivians wear.

It would have given me pause…

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