Updated: May 7, 2020
by Judy Stahl, M.A., LMT
There are 181 days until the general election. It’s a beautiful spring day here in the Arizona uplands and, surprise-surprise, I want to talk to you about voting. We who are citizens of the United States wield great power. At the age of 18, Americans are able to register and vote. Our vote counts as much if we are a struggling college student living on ramen noodles and used tea bags as if we are a billionaire seated at the board room table on the 49th floor.
For some folks, my words may ring hollow. We hear talk of our elections being “rigged”. We know that there have been and continue to be challenges and obstacles for people of color to be able to simply get to the polls. Just this year, we have seen a disgraceful decision by a state legislature to move forward with an election that required people to get out in nasty weather and wait in line for hours in the midst of a global pandemic— literally risking their lives— to exercise their right to vote.
The exercise of one’s constitutional right to vote is the hallmark of our democracy. Do not allow cynicism, frustration, hopelessness, anger, exhaustion, or depression to stop you from exercising the right to vote! Do it for those who do not have the right to make a democratic choice in their country. Do it for those who spent their lives working to make sure that you have the right to vote.
Given the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is more important than ever that citizens have a way to vote that protects their health and their vote. Five states currently mail all eligible voters a ballot. Over half the states allow voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason. Citizens who vote by mail in their states are, overall, quite satisfied with their voting systems.
In Arizona, we can vote early by mail. Our Attorney General’s office has researched and made clear that Arizona does not have problems with voter fraud. Currently, a full 70% of Arizonans already vote by mail. It is crucial that a vote by mail option be available to all Arizonans for the 2020 election cycle due to the uncontrolled deadly virus, COVID-19. There is much uncertainty, much that is unknown, about when and how this virus will be controlled. Until it is controlled, we must continue to be very careful to protect our own health and the health of other people by strict physical distancing and staying home as much as possible. Therefore, I urge you to take advantage of the easy and secure system to vote ‘early’ by mail in Arizona.
Arizona’s signature vote by mail system is the Permanent Early Voting List, affectionately known as the PEVL. Registered voters can sign up for the PEVL at your County Recorder’s website. My district, LD1, includes most of Yavapai County and part of northern Maricopa County. The links to both county recorders’ PEVL information are included at the end of this blog post. Please sign up, if you have not already, and enjoy the ease of receiving your ballot automatically by mail. You can mail your ballot in or, if you prefer, you can bring it to an official ballot repository.
As your ONLY candidate of change in the 2020 election for the Arizona State Legislature for District 1, I strongly urge you to sign up for PEVL and vote for me early (if not often!) for both the Primary election and the General election. I know that some folks like to deliver their ballot personally. You can still do this with your early ballot. All the details can be found at your county recorder’s website.
Democracy is constantly in danger of being corrupted or completely dismantled by those who put selfish interests over the good of our country. I want to leave our children and grandchildren a country worthy of the sacrifices of those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to give us this democracy. If those words of our brave forefathers and mothers mean as much to you as they do to me, I request that you sign up for the PEVL today and encourage every Arizonan to do the same.
For me to win, I need the help and support of each one of you, voting for me, voting ONLY for me (per our “Single Shot Strategy”, a topic for another blog post!), and encouraging your fellow LD1 voters to do the same. Being on the PEVL and voting early, will allow you to contact your county election official, before the flurry of election day, to confirm that your vote was accurately recorded. Pandemic or no, you will be doing your part to safeguard the integrity of this most important election of our lives. Thank you for doing your part to safeguard our democracy.