EDITORIAL: Please check the ballot’s back side


WAIT A MINUTE! You forgot something. Not your umbrella. That disappeared years ago. This is about that long, floppy ballot you are about to mark when you vote in this year’s General Election.

Your ballot will have the names of the candidates seeking public office, including one of our two U.S. senators and the candidates for governor. So you mark your paper ballot and slip it into the vote counting machine… and then imagine if, just as the ballot disappears, you see there’s a headline on the back side that says “Proposition 1” but you didn’t read it and now voters are lining up behind you and they’re mumbling and election officials are hurrying to be sure the machine isn’t damaged as you try in vain to withdraw your ballot before the machine swallows it.

There are better ways to make voting decisions.

This year there is one statewide proposition on every ballot in Columbia County. It is “State Proposal 1, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.” More about that at a later date.

A second proposal on the ballots in five Columbia County communities is called “Library Funding.” It’s also called “Proposal 1,”which is not a typo, just government confusion. Ignore the proposal number and focus on “Library Funding.” But remember, all library funding proposals appear on the back side of the ballot.

The libraries requesting town funding increases and the amounts are:

•Claverack Free Library, $12,500

•Germantown Library, $35,000

•Hudson Area Association Library, $100,000

•North Chatham Free Library, $35,000

•Valatie Free Library, $18,710

Add them up and what you get is an embarrassingly small public commitment to one of the strongest, most unifying institutions of our democracy. It’s the place where all of us can share in the magic of knowledge, a place where disinformation finds scant fertile soil, where education can be fun again or for the first time. You name it and they—library professionals—can help you find it. But look at these requests for funds above and wonder how your library’s staff can accomplish so much with so few.

Somewhere people don’t care for their library. Maybe they feel uncomfortable, out of place. Maybe it comes from experience in countries where libraries are not libraries at all, but are instead conduits for propaganda or check points for surveillance.

As an adult you never have to set foot in your local library. You never have to explain why, either. But you can always change your mind, too. Your library is yours to use whenever it’s open. Bring a friend if you’d like.

To know more about what your library hopes to do with the funds in this year’s vote go to the library’s website:

• Claverack Free Library; https://claveracklibrary.org/

•Germantown Library; https://germantownlibrary.org/

•Hudson Area Association Library; https://hudsonarealibrary.org/

•North Chatham Free Library, https://northchathamlibrary.org/

•Valatie Free Library, https://valatielibrary.net/

Please support your local library. And Please don’t forget to check the back of your ballot.

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