When I first moved to Oregon, one weird thing I learned was that voting is only done by mail. At first I wondered if that was a good or bad thing, as I’ve grown accustomed to the social interaction of finding my polling place, meeting neighbors, and voting. It always felt like I was actually doing something but I understand it’s a pain to break away from work, track down your location, and actually go through with it. On the other hand, I’m pretty lazy about answering mail and if you don’t have a permanent address you can’t really vote in Oregon.
Now that I’ve been through a couple of elections here, it seems easier on citizens to do it via mail since you can vote in your free time during the preceding 2-3 weeks before election day and you can look up candidates online while you vote (my favorite feature, it’s essentially nerd-friendly voting). I got my ballot in the mail today, spent an hour looking up various propositions and folks running for office, just voted, and will drop it off Monday morning at the local courthouse (it can be mailed in, but I like to do at least some part of it in-person). I’m thinking more states should adopt this vote-by-mail method — there’s no need to worry about touchscreen system snafus, there are no carpools needed to get the vote out, and your only worry is that the ballot gets mailed successfully and it gets counted properly. I bet more people would vote if they had this kind of flexibility.