The amount of money poured into our small city’s local elections and the amount of propaganda it produces not only misplaces our democratic process, in the case of these elections, it has led to the misplacement of the ballots themselves.
Voters should have gotten a notice that many ballots have been delayed due to having been smothered by political junk mail designed to look official and … like ballots! This is not unusual, when large amounts of nonpreferential mail like the political mail clog the handling rooms and sorting cases, first-class mail sometimes gets lost in the mess. This is especially true when the political season overlaps the Christmas catalog season, which it usually does.
The solution would be to reform the rules so that political propaganda has to go out as first class (after all, it really does not provide a public service … you don’t get objective information that way!), but that is a matter for the postal service and the federal government. Locally, we should continue to increase the public forums and encourage and praise news media that cover the issues without bias. Voters can express their disapproval by voting for candidates who do not flood the porches with litter, the mailboxes with junk mail and the air waves with sound bytes.
R. Lane Anderson
Retired U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 290, and candidate for Santa Barbara City Council