Pierce County Sacrifices Polling Places for Forced Vote By Mail Absentee Voting

If you have some time, and oppose VBM like I do, drop a letter to the editor to your local paper about Vote-by Mail. And if you need someplace to start, start with this:

Pierce County whacks polls
Low turnout forces closure of 40 percent of voting places, auditor says

SEAN COCKERHAM; The News Tribune

Published: July 28th, 2007 01:00 AM

Pierce County is shutting down nearly 40 percent of its polling places and forcing some voters to mail in their ballots for the first time.Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy said this week that the ax is falling on polling places with low turnout.

“It just doesn’t make sense, when you have such a very, very low turnout, to deploy people and machines,” said McCarthy, who is in charge of running elections in Pierce County.

The changes will be in place for the Aug. 21 primary. Letters went out this month informing voters who are being switched to a different polling place or who must now vote by mail.

Pierce County Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, said he’s received calls and e-mails from about a dozen people who are mad about the closures.

Muri said he used to be a proponent of mail balloting until McCarthy and others convinced him that closing the polling places doesn’t save any money. He said he is not sure what McCarthy is up to now.

“She hasn’t kept us in the loop at all,” Muri said.

There’s a lot of “talk” about forced mail voting increasing turn-out. But not much evidence to back it up. However, there’s considerable evidence that Vote-by Mail increases the potential error rate of the system through lost mail, signature “verification”, and computer counting glitches.

So another county in Washington drops the axe on the Secret Ballot. Oh well, at least a dozen people complained:

John Campbell of DuPont wasn’t happy to hear that he has no choice now but to vote by mail.

“I’ve always voted at the polls and wanted to continue voting at the polls,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to force me to be voting by mail.”

Campbell said he thinks this is a step in forcing everyone in the county to vote by mail.

Campbell’s polling place, at Chloe Clark Elementary, is actually staying open. He’s being told to go to mail voting because he’s part of a precinct that has only a handful of registered voters, county elections officials said.

Poll workers have to manage multiple sets of ballots at each polling place based on which water district, fire district, etc., the voter lives in. It’s not efficient to do so for precincts with few voters, elections officials said.

Oh, yeah, I forgot how efficient Vote-By Mail is… where it used to take say, one day to count 4000 votes, last year in Montana it took 10 days to count just under 4000 votes using a Vote-By Mail system. While in Seattle’s last Vote-By Mail system votes kept coming in for two weeks after the election.