We’ve heard enough about it to smile rather than yawn. We’re talking about the “no” annexation signs in Washington that use the word “forced.”

What we are hearing is that when you vote on an issue, it is not “forced.” The people who paid for the signs do not agree with that.

We looked up “forced” in a World Book Dictionary dated 1967. It’s still one of several in use by proofreaders at The Missourian. Here is what it said: “Forced — Made, compelled or driven by force; the work of slaves is forced labor.”

OK. Let’s look at the 1999 edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. “Forced: Compelled by force or necessity; involuntary (a landing); done or produced with effort, exertion, or pressure.”

Then we looked at Webster’s Desk Dictionary of the English Language, 1983. “Forced: strength exerted, power to influence, affect or control, physical coercion or violence.”

Lastly, we looked at Random House Webster’s (large print dictionary), 1998. “Forced: Strength, coercion, armed group, influence, compel, make yield.”

The opinion here is that it is incorrect to use the words “forced annexation” in a literal sense because voting on an issue isn’t forcing it on nonresidents of a city. A case could be made for correctness if the words “involuntary” annexation were used on the signs. Yes, we know, “involuntary” is long, lots of letters. However, to vote is the democratic way, especially since state annexation laws were changed to give residents in an area proposed for annexation more say, resulting in a second vote if they disapprove.

The one thing about this election that many voters are going to find different is that people in the city in the Aug. 5 election will receive eight different ballots since the proposal has been divided into eight different parcels to the west, south and east. Voters in parcels outside the city will receive only the ballot that concerns their area.

If voters in both the area proposed for annexation and in the city reject annexation, it is killed. If city voters approve and nonresident voters turn it down, another election will be held in November. Of course, if voters in the city and voters in a section proposed for annexation approve, the proposal is approved.

Annexation can be emotional. This one is for some people, judging from several of the emotional verbal outbursts.

We can’t get too emotional about the “forced” annexation on signs. But it has caused comments, lots.