Voice of the People (Extended Play)

Here is the great news: of the 12,448 registered voters in Gunnison County, more than 11,000 cast votes in the 2020 general election. Almost 89 percent turn-out! Statewide, 82 percent of eligible electors voted, and nationwide, the turnout percentage appears to have been larger than any in the last 120 years, somewhere in the high 60s, possibly even 70s.

Here’s the news no one particularly wanted: counting legally-cast ballots for national races, including the presidency, may yet take the remainder of the week. Pennsylvania, which was not allowed to start counting any mail-in ballots before 7 a.m. yesterday, also allows ballots to arrive late, provided they are postmarked by Election Day.

I did read just the other day about a pair of boots being delivered to a shop somewhere back east, only 41 years after the box was postmarked. What happens if the count comes down to one person, and that ballot arrives the day after Inauguration Day? That might be a good reason for Colorado’s rule that all ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

I left work around 6:30 last night, and while I hadn’t seen any voters in the parking lot repurposed as a polling station on my way to work, I did see, half an hour before closing time, one man heading with great intent toward a plethora of poll workers standing idly. Sure enough, he plunked his ballot in the drop box as we all watched. I don’t know if his was the last of the day, but apparently it wasn’t nearly as busy as anticipated — most of us got our votes in early in Gunnison.

And this is what we now know about Gunnison County 2020: 63 percent of its inhabitants lean Democratic. Percent voting for Biden: 64. For the Democratic senatorial candidate: 62.5. For the Democrat running for our congressional seat: 62.5. (Although she lost the overall vote, so we will now be represented by a Q Anon conspiracy believer.) State board of education: 63%. County commissioner candidates: 61 and 63 percent.

Very steady totals all the way down the ballot, leaving no doubt that Gunnison County is a blue space mostly surrounded by red — although the congressional race was as close as it’s been in many, many years. As goes Gunnison, so goes Colorado, apparently, turning out in force for Democrats from the top down to many of the state senate and house races.

I would like to point out how smoothly the vote tallying has gone in Colorado, where everyone uses a mail-in ballot. As do a few other states, and those that are still counting, leaving an entire world on tenterhooks, might want to take a long look at places like Colorado, where election officials for the most part were able to pack up their equipment and head home at an early hour.

However, I would also point out that during this campaign season, 40 lawsuits were brought about regarding voting in jurisdictions across the country (none in Colorado that I’m aware of), all of them by Republicans, and not a single one aimed at making it easier to vote.

I firmly believe that if you sincerely think what you do is for the “good of the people,” then you ought not to fear to the people’s vote. When you do worry that those good people won’t support your policies, you have two choices: change your way of thinking, or repress voters. We can see where many in at least one political party have gone, with their 40 lawsuits.

I spoke with a man yesterday who described his political philosophy as “right-leaning centrist.” He cast his vote for Joe Biden and decency, although as a gun owner, he is worried about what he could be letting himself in for.

I think there were a lot of people like this man — although, I admit, not as many as I thought — who were putting what they, what we, believe to be the good of the people ahead of personal philosophies.

The outcome of our presidential race may take the remainder of the week, or perhaps longer if the threats of recount are followed through on, to determine. It’s on all of us, especially those trying to declare premature victory and demanding a halt to the legal and routine counting of legally-cast ballots, to keep this “good of the people” in mind as we practice a patience we probably don’t really have, not a single one of us.

And so we wait.

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