With all the hype, intensity and endless political commercials and robo calls, you know how important the forthcoming election is to everyone. This article is just a reminder to help make certain your vote gets counted. In Ouray County, over half of the qualified voters have asked that they receive their ballots by mail, to complete at home and return by mail or at their designated polling place by close of polls on Election Day. Whether you vote at a poll or by mail, be careful in completing your ballot. Use black ink and darken the complete box or circle as instructed. Every election we see checks, smudges, different colored inks, and a host of foods and beverages spilled on the ballots. We also see gobs of white-out used by budding artists to correct a mistake. The Hart counting machines that read your ballot and record your votes does not see red ink, rejects white-out and has no appetite for the spilled breakfast, lunch or dinner on your ballot. No felt pens, by the way, since they bleed through, spoiling the second side. Remember to sign the return envelope under the flap, where indicated. Take your time. Surely you can spare an extra five seconds to write your name as it is indicated on the address label on the back of the envelope. When that ballot comes to the election judges for verification that the addressee actually signed the return envelope, the signature is compared to one of several on file, starting with the voter registration. If the ballot signature is not visually the same as the one on file, the ballot does not get counted until the voter receives a letter stating that the signature does not match. Then, the voter has to provide additional information and a signature or personally go to the clerk’s office and sign an affidavit. None of us have time for that kind of nonsense. Avoid the difficulty by taking a couple of extra seconds to do a legible consistent signature. If you mess up the ballot with food, drink or erroneous voting, just go to the Clerk’s office at the courthouse and get a replacement ballot. Bottles of white-out, no matter how artistically applied, will not cure the problem. Oh, and please do not try to save the cost of postage by including two ballots in one envelope. It does not work. One verified signature for two ballots is just another wasted effort for election judges. Before the election, be certain the Clerk has a current address for you. With the current economic climate, folks are relocating for a number of reasons. Call the Clerk’s office or go to www.govotecolorado.com to confirm your address if you have moved or to be certain you know which polling place to go to on election day, if you are voting in person. The last day to register to vote was Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. The Clerk and her staff, permanent and volunteer, go to great lengths to be certain that your ballot is going to be counted but they can only be successful with your cooperation. When you are voting, just follow your kindergarten teacher’s directions and darken the appropriate boxes or circles on the ballot and stay within the lines. If you care enough about the future of our government to vote, make it count. We hope this little reminder helps.