Sheridan County Ballot Box - vote

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheridan County installed a secure ballot drop box in the east parking lot behind the Sheridan County Health building. 

The year 1972 was the first year I could vote and it was a presidential election. I was 19 years old (don’t do the math).

Boy, was I proud. A real grown-up. I could shout my youthful ideals with heavy-handed strokes on a bubble ballot. Who needed to stay within the lines? At 19, boundaries were made to be blown to smithereens. We had some pretty heavy stuff back then too — Vietnam War, civil rights, integration, sex discrimination. Our country was intensely polarized on key issues.

When my millennial children jokingly call me a Boomer, I defiantly correct them. We are Gen W — Generation Woodstock. We are a powerful force to be reckoned with; the sheer number of us, our collective wisdom and expertise, the depth of our experience and the economic purchasing power we bring to the table.

Many of us have been deeply concerned about issues facing Americans older than 50: medicare, Social Security, safe long-term care facilities, affordable and accessible housing, nutritious food, transportation, prescription drugs and health care. Now, our lives have been altered. Everything is different. These issues were on the ballot BC (Before COVID). We must choose leadership in city hall, the state capital, Congress and the White House in whom we entrust our future.

At such an important time as this, we are faced with unprecedented challenges to make our voices heard. BC, I can’t remember when I didn’t vote in person. I always went to the polls on Election Day. I proudly wore my sticker “I Voted Today!”

This year is different, but no less important — which is why I chose to vote remotely. In fact, I already have my ballot, as it was mailed a couple weeks ago. But whether I stamp it and mail it or use the dropbox behind the Wyoming Public Health Office, I know my vote is safe and secure.

I am proud to live in Wyoming, which embraced mail-in (absentee) ballots early on. We have proven infrastructure ready to process mail in/drop off ballots securely and accurately.

Voting during the pandemic may feel harder or riskier. Don’t let that stop your voice from being heard. You have many options to safely cast your ballot. To register or make sure you are registered, contact the Sheridan County Election Office by email at elections@sheridancounty.com, via phone at 307-674-2515 or in person at 224 S. Main, Ste. B-17.

You can register up to and even on Election Day, Nov. 3 in person. But, to vote early or vote remotely by requesting an absentee ballot, deadlines are approaching, so do it today. Election Day is only weeks away.

Whether it’s for your kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, brothers, sisters, parents or especially for yourself, and whatever issues are important to you, deVOTE yourself to casting a ballot. It has never been more crucial. Do it for our future, our community, our state, our country and our democracy.

Fran Bunker is a Sheridan-based volunteer with AARP Wyoming.

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