Vote-By Mail, Absentee Ballots Slow California Vote Count

 California, we have a problem:

http://www.mercurynews.com/valley/ci_9511448

Thousands of vote-by-mail ballots that county elections workers have scurried to tally this week show a new name in the runoff for a judge’s seat – and a San Jose City Council race still too close to call.

When the final poll numbers from Tuesday’s election were released earlier this week, prosecutor Lane Liroff trailed court commissioner Jesus Valencia by just 28 votes in the race for Santa Clara County Superior Court judge. But the 50,000 additional vote-by-mail ballots voters turned in at polling places on Election Night changed the picture: Liroff ended up with about 1,000 more total votes and will almost certainly face San Jose attorney Diane Ritchie, the top vote-getter, in November.

Things remain even tighter in San Jose’s council District 2. With all the mail ballots counted late Friday, non-candidate Jacquelyn Adams – who withdrew from the race but still appeared on the ballot – led third-place candidate Ram Singh by a mere 12 votes.

Large use of absentee ballots slows down the entire vote collecting, and subsequent counting. Switching from largely precinct poll voting to Vote-by mail systems has slowed the vote count in every election cycle I have observed since starting this site a few years back. In Montana, a 4000 vote tally almost took a month to count, and in Washington the last Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert race was too close to call for a bit, if I recall correctly.

Want to know more, here’s 89 Articles on Why Voting By Mail is bad for democracy. Or if you are making a presentation to the County Board or your State Legistlator here’s the bullet list.

As California Heads to Vote-By Mail, Turnout Low and Going Lower?

Riddle me this… as Vote-By Mail percentages increase turnout is decreasing? If the postal voting enthusiasts really had it right, shouldn’t we be seeing the opposite trend? This article says a largely mail vote in California is expecting a low turnout:

http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080603/NEWS03/80603045

The California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials estimated a 31 percent turn out statewide. Riverside officials had anticipated turnout here would fall just under that.

“I’m not optimistic because what I heard from polling places today is that turnout was very low,” Dunmore said.

“Getting to the 30 percent looks like it might be a challenge.”

In contrast, the February presidential primary drew about 407,000 – or 55 percent of registered voters – to the polls.

Unlike February, when far more Democrats darkened the county’s voting booths – a total 74 percent turnout to 57 percent – slightly more Republicans voted this primary election absentee, 14 percent to Democrats’ 11 percent.

Riverside County has 763,941 registered voters.

Coachella Valley voters said tradition brought them out to the polls Tuesday.

The article also makes a great case against centralized vote-counting. Starting off by showing that trucking in the votes is a timely process. Poll-site vote counts! Yes. Centralized counts, no.