Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle

Unprecedented Social Phenomena

We live in an era unlike any other that we know of. Each generation in this community has had to face things in their lives that the previous generation didn’t. A few examples would be the Azusa Revival in Los Angeles in the beginning of the 20th century, The Great Depression of the late 20s and early 30s, the hippie movement of the late 60s and early 70s, the disco era of the 70s. All of these are considered a type of social phenomena. All of these had their peak then crashed and disappeared into history. Occasionally we see remnants of these bygone eras in the form of old men and women who still live the somewhat same lifestyle as they did during the hippie movement. I have seen many in the Westend with long hair and assorted colorful attire. Nobody gives it a second thought. The one thing that all these social phenomena had in common was that they left an impact on the society they lived in, and it made changes that could be arguably construed as either good or bad.

The unprecedented social phenomena that are about to occur all over the United States as well as here in the county is all voting will be done by mail. The State of Washington enacted the same-day voter registration in 2018, which means voters can register in-person and cast a ballot through Election Day; however, this law did not take into effect the covid-19 shutdown of the polling booths. I understand that there have been instances where ballots have been sent in this county to people who have not even registered to vote.

According to the Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s website, they say that Washington is a vote by mail state. Those who registered to vote will receive their ballot in the mail several weeks before Election Day. The ballots went out by October 16. The envelope will include a ballot, a secrecy envelope, and a return envelope.

For over a decade, Washington’s voters have been voting by mail securely, and the state has an effective system in place to keep your vote safe and secure. Election day is November 3 and the voting period began October 16. Your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day. It is suggested that the best way to make sure your vote will be counted is to return it to a drop-box. There are about 450 boxes statewide. Official ballot drop boxes in Wahkiakum County are located at the Wahkiakum County Courthouse located at 64 Main Street in Cathlamet; Skamokawa Resort located at 1391 SR4 in Skamokawa; and at Johnson Park, 30 Rosburg School Road in Rosburg. In Naselle the drop box is located at the Washington State Patrol Parking Lot,797 State Route 4.

There also have been concerns about mail-in ballots being thrown away into dumpsters as has happened with military ballots in Luzern County, Pennsylvania, and here in this state numbering in the thousands. California has also had its share of ballots missing. According to the Sacramento Bee, California has had the same ballot issues. Election officials had thrown out 102,428 vote-by-mail ballots in the March 2020 primaries. They threw out 70,000 of them because they arrived late, but did not explain why the rest were discarded. They also did not report whether voters themselves or the postal service was to blame. California officials found a possible solution by extending the deadline for election offices to receive ballots. The state extended the deadline for receiving ballots from three days to 17 days after the election. Mail ballots must still be postmarked on or before November third. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman issued a status report that indicated that more than 36,600 ballots collected in Washington State have been rejected because voters have failed to select a party on their ballots in the 2020 primary. Both parties' primaries are listed on the same ballot in Washington, but you can only pick one or the other to vote in. The problem with many voters is there is not a place for anyone to sign in as an independent candidate. The primary ballots only had the Republican and the Democratic parties. When you do mail in your vote, you have to sign a statement on the envelope promising you didn't vote in both. The statement you sign becomes a matter of public record for 60 days. Many also have a problem with this because we have always in the past had the right to vote anonymously. This means that anyone could potentially find out who you voted for.

Washington State law requires two people to be present any time ballot boxes are emptied to ensure there are witnesses to the process. Those people must log the date and times they remove ballots, along with their names so there is always a record of the individual who controlled the ballots should anything turn up incorrect. Those who transport the ballots aren’t volunteers. Election officials spoke with Cascade Public Media and said they only use trained county election employees to transport ballots who must sign an oath that they will uphold the integrity of the election process. These sworn election workers take an oath before every election to perform their duties and comply with the law. These are trusted individuals who have been doing this for years in their office.

We who live in this county, whether you were born here and lived here all your life or you have recently moved here, one thing is certain, you are witnessing something that has never happened in the history of this great nation and the state we reside in. It has been suggested that there is to be a new normal because of covid-19 and this year’s election. If that is the case you are witnesses to one of the biggest unprecedented social phenomena.


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