More Info, Running Thread

Today comes two more news items from Ohio, the SOS wants to move to VBM for “issues-only” races AND draft poll workers to work the polls like jurors. Isn’t anyone paying attention?…

Florida: Absentee Balloting Problems Predominate
The 2004 presidential elections in Florida once again revealed systemic problems that must be corrected before Florida can be considered to have free and fair elections. Many of the problems, such as votes being rejected from eligible voters who cast a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct, were predictable. But others, such as the massive disfranchisement caused by delays in mailing absentee ballots, were less expected.

Absentee balloting problems on November 2 accounted for 13.4% of all Florida voting incidents recorded in the Election Incident Reporting System — the Election Protection Coalition’s database. The most prevalent type of absentee ballot-related complaint fielded by the ACLU of Florida involved voters who received their absentee ballots too late, or not at all. Other complaints involved confusing postage, return envelope formatting that caused mail delays, and absentee ballots from eligible voters being rejected on hyper-technical terms.

The battle to protect the right to vote in Florida takes place on many fronts, and includes on-going campaigns for voter-verified audit trails for touch-screen voting machines, eliminating the correct precinct requirement for provisional balloting, ensuring proper implementation of voter ID requirements, and more. But the 2004 elections illustrated that protecting the right to vote is an evolving and changing endeavor that requires our continued vigilance.

Article contributed by Courtenay Strickland, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

Welcome, please say hello

Hi there, just looking at my web stats today. I haven’t been publicizing this blog very often, because it was just getting started, and I wanted to have something for visitors to look. But now that I have a little depth of content, it is probably a good time to start.

I’ve had about 500 visitors so far. So if you do stop by on occasion, I ask two things:

1. If you like the site, oppose VBM and would like to help, or comment, or anything, please say hello. I’m always interested in connecting with allies.

2. If you LOVE Vote-By Mail, and think I am the devil (or not), please tell me why it is you think I’m wrong, and why Vote-By Mail is the best thing since the secret ballot.

NJ Absentee Ballot Stuffing

So the pertinent information:

  • Jose L. Mercado, 20, of South Broad Street in Penns Grove, has been indicted on five counts of forgery, according to court records.
  • In the Penns Grove June Primary, there were 519 absentee ballots requested which officials have stated is an unusually high number for a municipality the size of Penns Grove. Out of those, Jose Mercado was the bearer for 233 of them with 209 of those ballots being counted.
  • In October, Superior Court Judge William Forester ruled in a non-jury trial that the results of the disputed primary election would stand despite what he said was multiple instances of fraud. Forester ruled that there were not enough challenged votes to alter the outcome of the election.
  • Mercado is the third person to be indicted in connection with the investigation into the alleged fraud.

Many the supporter of Vote-By Mail schemes continue to argue that postal voting is safe, secure, less exspensive, and overall good for Democracy. But in just a few months of running this blog, there have been numerous cases and news articles, both in my home State, and Nationally, that continue to contradict these claims. From Mayors of small towns who have confessed to dealing themselves winning elections using absentee ballots, to voter intimidation and coercion, to today’s account of another indictment, it would seem that the case is clear, vote by mail is less safe, less secure, more costly, and bad for Democracy.

The only thing vote by mail schemes really has going for it, is that it seems convenient. And a lot of people are far too willing to sacrafice the sanctity and security of the vote on that altar, for convenience is a very important aspect in Democracy. Who am I to say that things like accuracy and honesty matter more in an election system?

California Declares Mail Ballot Only Precincts

Interesting story from the South, seems some folks are being forced to vote by mail by decree. Who’s decree?

Assessor-County clerk-Recorder Marsha Wharff has added one new polling place, has reinstated a recently closed polling place, and has again confirmed that the Willits Community Center will be a valid, open polling place for the April 3 special election.

In a recent statement, Wharff again defended her decision to reduce the number of polling places in the county and to declare many precincts where formerly there were polling places as mail ballot only precincts.