At sites like this, we enjoy theorizing about what decisions our favorite team should make. But the only vote we really have in the matter is buying tickets and merchandise.

When it comes to local and national politics, however, we can volunteer for organizations, raise issues with representatives, form discussion groups, a number of things. And one of them is: vote.

No, Minnesota will probably not have a bearing on the Electoral College. And many people hate (well, everyone hates) the political ads. But there are local and statewide races to be decided. You can decide them.

Find your polling place at -- or search for "my polling place" and the name of the state you live in. (If it's Ohio, probably 50 people have told you already on the phone.)

In Minnesota, you can register at the polls. You must bring proof of address; two utility bills (like electricity and Internet) will do. You can also go with a registered voter of the same district who vouches for you.

You can ask any question you like about the ballot to the poll workers; but, let's face it, TT readers are clever people and won't have any questions with the ballot. Except who the zillion people are running for "Commissioner Of Sewers" or such on the reverse side. There, the poll workers can't help you, and neither can I.

It takes about 30 minutes, tops, and it does have an effect. Not as much as we'd like, no matter what our persuasion, but some is better than none. Political parties and candidates have their specific agendas, but they ultimately are desperate for your support. Which is why they've subjected you to those ads.

Think of it this way. Let's say you had a choice to slightly alter the future of the Twins. You couldn't pick the GM, or unsign any big contracts. But you could decide whether the team focused on rebuilding now or stashing prospects for the future. Both approaches have selling points and detriments, but you've got an opinion on which way to go, and you have a chance to determine it. Would you bother? Yes!

So bother to vote. You get a sticker, and sometimes a cookie. Plus, it's secret, so nobody will flame you afterwards. Also, it makes watching the returns later, if you choose to do so, more entertaining. The little numbers at the bottom of all the state contests get more exciting. There are even GameThreads live. Whether Dems or Repubs, pro-this-amendment or anti that one, there are parties you can attend where others of the same bent are gathering. Me, I'm getting together with friends -- but it's also my birthday. 0 days until, as Bert would say.

And don't be too hard on blameMauerbot for writing in "Wilson Ramos" all over his ballot. That's what he does.

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