Joe Turner: 'Our election system is not perfect, but it is what we have, and our responsibility is to use it or lose it.'

Although I am a registered non-affiliated voter, I was invited to attend a recent political function in which I found the main presentation was an election conspiracy theory given by a person from Ohio with a Ph.D.

With my college degrees, along with 10 years' military service, four years of federal civil service and seven years of Oregon civil service, it took all of five minutes to see his theory was based on facts cherry-picked from unrelated reports for effect rather than based on truths.

Like so many things in the news about the election process, many facts are glossed over or omitted to twist the narrative of the story.

Fact: America does not have a national election but 55 individual elections conducted in 50 states, plus American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. Some elections are voted by mail, others are voted in person or a hybrid of the two. Comparing one state to another is like comparing an apple to an orange.

Fact: Elections are administered in each state at the county level, in which Oregon has 36. During a primary, each county produces three different ballots — Democrat, Republican, generic — and further depending if a city has a specific ballot issue.

Another factor is education. Some community schools are focused on athletics rather than academics, leaving some citizens struggling to comprehend English and mathematics, while laws and ballot measures are written by the college-educated. Many voters just do not comprehend just what the ballot measures represent.

Our election system is not perfect, but it is what we have, and our responsibility is to use it or lose it.

Joe Turner is a Columbia City resident.

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