Vote By Mail-A Great Example of Voting Badly

http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110009167

A great opinion piece on the problems with Vote By Mail.

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4 Responses

  1. That’s not about VBM; that’s about absentee balloting. It only mentions OR once, and can’t say a single thing about fraud. Washington’s absentee problem isn’t a function of absentee voting; it’s that you can turn one in postmarked by election night, as opposed to Oregon’s requirement that it ARRIVE by election night.

    And the descriptions of “fraud” aren’t really fraud at all; they’re examples of vote coercion and persuasion. If you want to cede your right to choose who you want and let someone else, that’s your business. As long as it’s done with your knowledge, that’s not fraud. The nursing home stories are unfortunate, but obviously polling place balloting is no solution, since it would disenfranchise ALL of them. Absentee balloting is well worth the fraud in those cases, given how rare they are.

  2. I understand your point that Vote By Mail, as a term, is being applied to 100% forced mail voting. And I try to be consistent in employing both terms. However, without an editor, I don’t always catch everything. I will however say that the article covers a broad enough spectrum, including Washington and other states that call their system Vote By Mail as well. My contention is that absentee ballots have a bad PR name, and that VBM is being employed to counter this PR issue, rather than for speicfic differences. Voting by mail, regardless of if you call it VBM or Absentee suffers from the same problems, just different in scale.

    The Secret Ballot is a creation for preventing the “coercion” that you speak of, throwing out the secret ballot with VBM or absentee is exactly what leads to this problem. The fraud is not infrequent. And as I have time, unpaid as it is, I will continue to document every case I find. But so far it hasn’t been hard, and 2006 was ripe with examples. Granny farming is common enough that the terms been around for decades. But it is only one example.

    While you contradict yourself by saying the coercion and “persuasion” are not types of vote fraud, you later call them acceptable amounts of “fraud”. However, that contradiction is minor, the major problem you have is simply speculating without knowing the facts. My blog is not exhaustive, but what it is… is an attempt to collect the facts that are available online as I have time, as no one else is doing it currently. But while I believe granny farming is fraud, I also know for a fact that people have been convicted time and time again of vote fraud using postal voting systems, regardless of what they are called.

    I actually don’t know the answer to the question, “is giving away your ballot illegal, or fraudulent”, and I would guess that it depends on the legal definition of election fraud in your state. It’s been bugging me since the election, because lots of people tried to voluntarily give me there ballots cause they trust my opinion and don’t follow politics and know I do. Now, had I accepted the offer and voted for 10 people in their place, I don’t know if that could be considered fraud in washington, cause you can fill out someone’s ballot for them if they are disabled… but I don’t know if you can do it for no good reason.

    However, I can guess that you haven’t actually researched the laws in all 50 states. But, please if you do, post a link. If I can start voting for others, I might start a contest for 2008.

    Both Greg Palast and Bev Harris, two very well known names in the voting activist community, have both written about the problems recently.

    But, hey, thanks for reading. Keep it up, and you’ll find more than a few rare cases. And as we dismantle the protections set in place for a hundred years, fraud will inevitably increase, because it is humman nature, given the opportunity fraud will increase as the opportunities increase.

  3. And the article also says, “The need for safeguards against strong-arm tactics was proved in East Chicago, Ind.’s 2003 mayoral race. Challenger George Pabey defeated Robert Patrick, the eight-term incumbent, among Election Day voters but lost by 278 votes after some 2,000 absentee votes were tabulated. Investigators for Mr. Pabey turned up repeated instances of coercion and vote-buying. Shelia Pierce allowed a Patrick campaign operative to fill out her absentee ballot in exchange for a $100 job at the polls. She said the operative later threatened her to keep her from testifying.”

    So vote buying isn’t fraud anymore?

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