Early Voting Alters Precinct System and Exit Polls

Here’s another editorial on how liberalized absentee voting, or Vote-By Mail is altering our ability to conduct accurate exit polls:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/24/opinion/pollpositions/main4205467.shtml

 

Bill Bradbury Hawks Vote-By Mail to Pennsylvania

Apparently Bill Bradbury is not satisfied with eliminating the secret ballot in Oregon, now he’s on a mission to eliminate the secret ballot nationally as well:

http://publicbroadcasting.net/wpsu/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1295502§ionID=1

Bradbury claims, “We will have the cleanest, the most accurate voter registration rolls in the country in about another two years, because there’s this constant cleansing, because of the returned ballots, that lead to inactive voter status.”

The idea was generally well-received by the Pennsylvania legislators, although Democrat Robert Freeman of Northhampton County was worried about tradition “The one concern I have is the end of that civic ritual, going to a polling place, making a conscious effort to be there in line with your neighbors, casating your vote in a democratic style,” Freeman said.

Alabama Absentee Voting Totals Questioned

This case has it all, a guy named Michael Jackson, a mayor’s race up in the air over absentee ballot totals, and a candidate accused of “helping” people vote:

http://www.tidesports.com/article/20080609/NEWS/865620239/-1/RSS04&source=RSS

In Marion, the county seat, the 2004 mayor’s election has still not been settled because of a court challenge over allegations of improper absentee ballots.

District Attorney Michael Jackson said he expects there will be federal and state observers in Perry County for the July 15 primary runoff after a federal observer reported that a candidate hung around a polling place much of the day Tuesday and helped some voters cast ballots.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman has pointed to a number of irregularities in Perry County during Tuesday’s primaries. Chapman said there are 8,361 registered voters in the county, and 4,207 votes cast, which means 50.3 percent of eligible voters would have gone to the polls. That gives Perry County a turnout that nearly triples the rate in counties like Marengo, where about 17.7 percent of voters cast ballots.

Chapman also said there were 1,114 absentee ballots cast in Perry County, compared with seven in Hale county and 14 in Crenshaw County — both of which have larger populations than Perry.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King has seized voting records in Perry County.

NJ Sees Push for Permanent Vote-by Mail Status Absentee Voting

According to the press release, Assemblypersons Conners and Quigley have put forth the ‘VOTE BY MAIL LAW OF 2008’ for New Jersey’s consideration. I guess I’ll have to make some contact in New Jersey this summer.

More Absentee Ballot Problems

http://www.nbc40.net/view_story.php?id=5919

At tonights meeting, Board members questioned why the absentee ballots that were used two weeks ago, could not be read electronically — but that was not their only gripe — Freeholder, Joe McDevitt said that the average voter could not even understand how to fill out the ballot.

Mary Alyse Strother, Chairperson of the County Board of Elections, agreed with McDevitt, “….the back of the ballot looked like a phone book.”

More info on absentee ballot problems, here, and here.

Terminology of the day, Absentee Ballot Problems

I don’t often talk in terms of “absenteee ballots” and instead use the term, Vote-By Mail, frequently throughout this blog. The point for me is to underline the lie in the new terminology. And in fact, this blog is called the No Vote By Mail Project, and not the No Absentee Voting Project, for a reason. Why? Because I’m not against absentee voting. In limited ways, absentee voting is ok. It’s not great, but you can check it against general trends, and if it matches statistical projections based on expected voting patterns, it’s not going to be a serious problem for your election system. It may even improve the validity of the system by allowing small but vocal populations to vote that may not have had access to a voting place before, due to financial or physical reasons.

That said, a lot of what I do here, on the NOVBM website, is to track problems that appear in limited systems of absentee voting across the country. Why? Well only one state so-far is truly Vote-By Mail and that is Oregon. My state, Washington is quickly going that direction, and Califonria is right behind us. However, 50 states are using some form of absentee voting. And therefore the No Vote By Mail Project also tracks news and information about absentee ballot problems, remote voting, internet voting, black box voting, and voting news from around the world. Democracy is about participation, voting from home and tossing your vote in the mail, relying on faith to guide it to it’s destination, and faith to trust in the system to count your vote accurately, this is about as far away from particiapatory Democracy as I could ever envision.

 

Mr. Postman, Is My Absentee Ballot Safe?

Nothing to see here, move along:

Alabama: absentee records seized in Lowndes County

WSFA 12 News reports: Attorney General Troy King today announced that agents from his office have served subpoenas upon Lowndes County election officials and have taken custody of records relating to the June 3 primary election. — WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL |Attorney General Subpoenas Lowndes County Voting Records

–From the Votelaw Blog