Absentee ballots are an essential piece to voter enfranchisement. Between work and family obligations, access to polling stations is not simple for every eligible adult. While taking children with you to vote can be a positive experience, disruptions at polling stations are a big no-no. I have skipped many primaries and one regular election for this reason. Many other parents shy away, too.

In 2014, I took my three very young children to the polling station. They were not great voting companions. Even with a short line, they were done by the time we got to a voting machine. I tried to focus, but found myself anxious and forgetful. I made some informed votes, and I made some sad guesses.

In 2016, vote-by-mail was a boon. With my children asleep, I found lots of uninterrupted time to research candidates and issues. I filled out my ballot a little here, a little there with my research fresh in my mind. I had time to reconsider each vote before finally dropping it off.

Absentee ballots make me a more thoughtful and informed voter, and spare others from the chaos that sometimes comes with my entourage of young children.

Current events underscore just how much our communities and country need to hear all of our voices. I join other members of Mormon Women for Ethical Government in strongly encouraging our local and national leaders to fund and prepare for increased absentee voting this fall.

Maria Bettinson Evans, Holladay