Vote By Mail Project Op-Ed

Bill Bradbury, Oregon’s Secretary of State, recently wrote an editorial that appeared in the Nov 19th issue of the Washington Post. In this editorial Mr. Bradbury argues that Vote By Mail is a huge success in Oregon. It is also the answer to those pesky problems like long-lines and touch screen voting machines:

We don’t suffer with long lines at polling places, with voter harassment or intimidation, with fears about malfunctioning or easily hacked voting machines, or from lack of a paper trail.

-Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury

The argument he makes is simply a regurgiation of the Vote By Mail Project’s propoganda. It so happens that Mr. Bradbury is one of the advisers to the Vote By Mail Project, a group that has Washington’s very own Sam Reed on it as well. I’ve written about this group before, and posed the question as to why Sam Reed supports this oranization that so openly criticizes those same touch screen voting machines that Mr. Sam Reed likes so much that he uses tax payer money to promote them to gymnasiums full of school children who don’t even vote yet? But the question that someone should ask Mr. Bradbury, in public and on camera is this, “How does it eliminate the easily hacked voting machines, when you are still using easily hacked voting machines?”

I thought Oregon was still counting the vote on those same pesky machines? Because if you hadn’t been keeping up it’s ES&S voting machines that are in all the news headlines this time Mr. Bradbury. Because they just lost 18,000 votes. And even though you claim a paper trail in Oregon, which is a troublesome phrase anyway, according to Verified Voting, you have no manual audit requirement. So your claims of fraudless elections are based on nothing, Oregon’s procedures are not adequate for actually noticing. A paper trail means nothing if you never use it to audit the system.

And that’s before I even have said one word of the way your system in Oregon undermines the security of the paper ballot by sending the entire thing through the mail! I don’t mail money through the United States Postal Service, and I certainly value my vote a whole lot more than the last piece of crap in my garage I sold on eBay that I still insured… because the post office loses things.

Any bank would laugh at this system that Oregon claims has no fraud. First they use proprietary voting machines, then they undermine the chain-of-custody of every single paper ballot in the system by sending it through the fraud and error prone postal service, and then when you finally get most of these ballots back, mutilated though they may be, you feed them into proprietary voting machines made by ES & S. Then, as if to add insult to injury Oregon has no mandatory manual audit against the machine tally. Not even a random 1 or 2% pittance like California.

So if the paper ballot is not actually manually audited, then the machine count is basically Schrodinger’s Cat, an unknowable. I can say there’s no evidence of honesty, just as accurately as the Secretary of State can say that there is no evidence of fraud. The evidence is not manually audited.

Who, knows, I could be wrong. Verified Voting could be wrong about that lack of manual audit, and BlackBox Voting could be wrong in their work uncovering 18,000 missing votes. All the other activists could be wrong. But Oregon looks buddied up to the vendors, just like everyone else, so it looks bad. Maybe Oregon conducts fraud free elections on a system with major security holes that are virtually begging for fraud. Could be?

But being that Oregon has a few million people, I’ll keep waiting for the stories to surface, because to me fraud prone systems will produce fraud. It’s like the sun rising in the morning. Pretty soon the church voting parties will surface, the granny farming will come to light, ballots will disappear.

Maybe I’m just waxing philosophical on this rainy Seattle day, but it occurs to me the phrase, “those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.” The stories of vote buying have largely been forgotten, and possibly we are doomed to repeat the problems before laws that are being dismantled left and right are resurrected and built anew.

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