The Nose

The Nose (general election edition): Fight for your God-given right to procrastinate voting!

Remember in 2011 when state pols shut down the polling places in Pierce County — the last bastion of in-person voting in Washington?

Remember one of the selling points of all-mail elections? No more leg cramps and waiting in line in dimly lit church basements while kids scream and agoraphobics squirm. Citizens could now withdraw from the coughing, wheezing body politic and take as much time as they want to vote at home.

If your household is like ours, kitchen-table democracy looks something like this:

Put on bunny slippers. Put up feet. Start to read up on candidates. Scramble some eggs. Start over reading up on candidates. Check Facebook. Nod off while reading up on candidates. Pick up TNT. Read up on Dilbert and Garfield.

Take power nap. Put ballot in drawer to avoid drooling on it.

Rinse and repeat until Election Day.

By golly, this turned out to be the best invention since the take-home college final exam — even better, because voting is multiple choice, no essays.

Leave it to Pierce County election poobahs to try to crash the procrastination party.

We’ll dawdle if we want to: In the next few days, you’ll receive a voters pamphlet that comes with a theme of nagging punctuality.

“Run, walk, drive, dash ... whatever you do, don’t dawdle,” it proclaims on the cover.

The accompanying photo shows an election worker scowling and looking at her watch.

There’s more badgering, in the form of rhyming couplets — a poem in the pamphlet, called “Ode to Voting.” Here’s an excerpt:

Don’t take the chance of coming past eight,

You’ll have to be told, “You’re too late.”

Then you’ll be mad, the Election workers sad,

But according to State law… that’s just too bad.

So why get your ballot and wait to vote?

Just do it. Give our turnout percentage a jolt!

Sorry, election honchos. If you want speed and efficiency, let us vote by text message. Or drone. Or brain-implanted microchip.

Or here’s a crazy idea: The state could require all ballots to be received by, not postmarked before, Election Day. That’s what our time-conscious all-mail friends in Oregon do.

Until then, we’ll stick with the system that works for us: Power nap until 7:50 p.m., drop off ballot at 7:59.

Take a stand for the man: As you plow through your kitchen-table snowdrift of campaign mailers and voter materials, keep reminding yourself that every box you check on the ballot is a blessing and a privilege.

And nobody’s more blessed and privileged this year than Tacoma voters.

You get the thrill of helping wonky City Hall insiders scrub the obsolete jots and tittles of Tacoma’s Eisenhower-era city charter.

So put on your green eyeshades, folks, and enjoy poring over a dozen separate charter amendments. Why so many? Because a decade ago, you were lucky enough to decide on 11. And charter amendments are like donuts: 12 is always better than 11!

Honestly, though, a few of these half-baked ideas make our nostrils twitch.

Like, Charter Amendment No. 2 — the latest government attempt to gender-neutralize our society.

Any loyal follower of The Nose knows we were manic last year when legislators adamantly demanded the dismantling of all man-centric verbiage they managed to find in state manuscripts.

Now Tacoma poobahs are on a similar manhunt. They want no more references in the charter to councilman, chairman or other relics from the “Ozzie and Harriet” days — an era some view as unmannerly, but we consider romantic.

Oh, the humanity!

How long until the gender-neutral gendarmes start going door to door, banning Tacoma Public Schools from using offensive his-her pronouns and forcing parents to give babies androgynous names like Robin and Pat?

When that day comes, stand your ground and never forget who you are.

Tacomans.

Grave decision: By far the most dark and mysterious charter amendment is No. 10. It deals with those sad, lonely places that nobody likes talking or thinking about but that nobody, in the end, can avoid going to.

No, not the DMV.

Cemeteries — aka, Boot Hill, the Boneyard, Termination Station, the Daisy-Pushin’ Patch, the Ultimate Waiting Room.

Great timing, what with Election Day falling a mere four days after Halloween.

Turns out that Tacoma’s city charter has long prohibited new cemeteries (and mausoleums and crematories) from opening.

We’re not sure why our founding fathers imposed this ban — perhaps to mitigate Tacoma’s exposure to the inevitable zombie apocalypse?

Limiting the city’s dirt nap options was clearly not a data-driven decision. Many reputable actuaries and statisticians have determined that 100 percent of Tacoma residents do, indeed, die.

We’re told the biggest problem with Article IX, Section 9.4 of the city charter is that it could block churches from building columbariums.

So this year, after heavy lobbying from the Grim Reaper, the charter review commission recommended that section be buried.

For years, we’ve heard the scurrilous claims that people are dying to get out of Tacoma. Guess they’re actually dying to get in.

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