Voter Fraud?

Thomas Wimberly

Voter suppression has haunted America since our founding, and it’s still a problem today. The latest version is a misinformation campaign to cast doubt on mail-in ballots. My story is a small testimony in support of Colorado’s mail-in ballot system, which has been running smoothly since 2013.

How Voter Fraud Almost Happened to Me

I have a problem with procrastination. Sometimes I leave important administrative tasks on the table until an arbitrary turning point in my schedule when I get with the program—fast! Voting is one of the tasks I tend to leave until the last minute.

For seven years now, my family and I have been voting by mail. We live in a well-run state—not to mention the most glorious state in the union. Colorado is beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain / for purple mountain majesty, above the fruited plain.

Another great thing about our state is vote-by-mail. In Colorado, we get to tinker with our ballots in the privacy of our homes. We get to read the ballot slowly, collaborate with family to research candidates and proposed amendments. We get to google around and take our time. We get to debate the vote with family and friends. In short, we get to be thoughtful voters. 

We are glad that our under-resourced neighbors, those who work night shifts, parents with kids at home and those caring for ill family members don’t have to stand in line at polls or skip voting because of life obligations. 

So, once upon a time in 2014, in the wonderland of Colorado, I completed my ballot and left it lying on the kitchen table, unsealed and unsigned. Privileged procrastinator.

Insert travel.

I was headed out of state for some type of meeting, and in the scramble to get out the door I failed to complete the voting task.

Fast forward two weeks when I get a strange piece of mail. It’s a letter from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. I wish I had saved it for this very moment in history when fear-mongers are spinning tales about voter fraud by mail. I would love to share my evidence with the whole world. Thanks to Marie Kondo, the letter is gone.

The Secretary’s letter informed me that someone had attempted to commit voter fraud in my name. The vote-counting squad knew this because the signature on my outer envelope was a—forgery.   

You should know that I live with people who do not procrastinate on important administrative tasks. When one such person saw my pile of mail and unfinished paperwork still on the kitchen table after my departure, they were concerned. The person rifled through the pile to see if there was anything important in the stack. They found the ballot. They signed my name, sealed it and mailed it off. 

But they didn’t get away with it. Even though my whole family is skilled at forgery, the secretary of state has one-up. The fraud detection system spotted the forgery and took swift action!

Needless to say, I didn’t press charges.

Have a wonderful final week of October and be sure to voice your vote. It’s a message that will be heard forever. Need help? Try

Final note: I voted on Wednesday with nearly two weeks to spare!


The happiest and most fulfilled people are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest. John Glenn

God will not forget your work and the love you have shown as you have helped people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10

Spirit of Christ who trains our hearts for service: Help us appreciate the servants among us and grow in our devotion to serve. Amen

They were a couple all their lives—met as toddlers! Annie was married to John Glenn, the hero astronaut and first American to orbit the earth. She struggled with severe stuttering that became a painful challenge when she was thrust into NASA’s spotlight as portrayed in the Hollywood film, The Right Stuff.

But Annie overcame her speech limitations while living in Washington and serving as the wife of a U.S. Senator. She became a public speaker and advocate for persons with speech disabilities. She and John served out four terms before leaving politics.

Annie testified that she had given John Glenn up to serve our country for 55 years and it was now time to take him back! But John Glenn embarked on one more mission in space at age 77—to test the effects of weightlessness on the elderly.

After 73 years of marriage Annie Glenn buried John at Arlington in 2017 on the day that would have been their wedding anniversary. She died yesterday of complications from Covid-19. Annie was 100 years old.

The people I live with keep asking the same question: Why don’t we have more wise, good-hearted and competent people in positions of power?

I don’t think anyone has a good answer to that question. The only theory I have is this: Many people who seek positions of power, or are able to ascend power structures, are disinclined to use their power to serve the public good. And people like Annie and John Glenn, who use their strength to serve, are less likely enter a toxic political arena.

Nevertheless, many gifted people have given their whole lives to public service. Annie Glenn was one of those people, and there are many others.

Spiritual Practice

Who are your mentors and guides in public leadership? It’s so important that we celebrate their work, send them notes of thanks and talk them up at our dinner tables. Let’s not allow the bad apples to spoil our appreciation for true public servants.

We’re heading into one of those political seasons, you know. How can we influence our community with wise prayers, good thoughts and a hopeful outlook? I believe that all those things have true power to transform situations and foster healing in our society.

Rest well,

Losing Women

Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. Brené Brown

Every day we learn of a new loss to grieve in this season of change. Today I am grieving the loss of women. Rather than grieving alone, I’m reaching out for your help.

You and I were born into a male dominated world—a place when most of our power, influence and resources are controlled by men. I then attempted a career in a disproportionately male-dominated enterprise—spiritual leadership. Like you, I know our world, and my own job, like the back of my hand.

I also raised a family of four little women in this world. The Martinez women are now in the workforce observing these things for themselves and kicking my butt.

Gender bias has produced pain and grief in our lives. How could it not? Scaling walls, getting tired, falling from heights and rolling backwards down hills are not anyone’s vision of an exhilarating career. To be fair, there have been some satisfying moments of pure survival, navigating change successfully and living by grace.

We’ve long known that even when women are technically welcome and wanted in their chosen field, there is a high cost. Men bear a far smaller share of this cost burden. By and large, men have more resources to run their homes and care for their children while they work from home, travel or office-away.

Dear Peacemakers, here is our new loss: The pandemic is causing a caregiving crisis. Melinda Gates explained on NBC last week: “If we’re going to look at re-opening our economy, we have to take care of our most essential workers,” she says. “Eighty-five percent of nurses are women. And yet, who is the primary caregiver at home? Women. Who is the primary one for educating the kids? Women.”

She explains that when caregiving disproportionately falls on women, it makes it hard for them to do their jobs, leading to a loss of income for some women who end up taking a break from work or leaving the workforce altogether.

I know from my friends, family and neighbors that our women with children or aging parents are struggling under the burden of disproportionate caregiving. We are losing women.

One loss is the emotional vitality of our sisters, NOW. The next loss will be to watch our progress away from gender bias diminished. The next loss will the wellbeing of our world, homes, relationships and workplaces. The world needs women who are fully alive, leading strong and loving our neighbors well.

Spiritual Practice

Will you open your mind and learn about this scary topic with me?

As a starting point, will you read this short article with short video from Secretary-General António Guterres speaking at a meeting of the United Nations? I like it because it is plain spoken, caring and true.

And sisters: Please enjoy this mother’s day blessing spoken by Wendy Howell to my church in northern Colorado.

What can you do to help shoulder some domestic load for a woman or mother today?

Where women thrive, the world thrives. A rising tide floats all boats.

Have a blessed evening,