What to expect in the 2008 election…

Ok, so here’s my prediction. At least from a Vote-By Mail perspective, I expect these trends to continue:

  1. Longer and longer vote counts. When elections are conducted by mail it takes more like a month to collect, sort and count ballots than the previous 1 to 2 days that it used to take.
  2. Cases of granny farming will increase in Vote-By Mail, no-reason, or no-excuse absentee voting. Why? Because when you vote-by mail, you take away the secret ballot, and thereby make coercion easier. Therefore the incidences of voter coercion will increase.
  3. Votes will be lost in the mail.

Many other trends in voting problems, caused directly by switching away from precinct based pollsites and to voting by post, will also increase. See here, and here for more information.

As for the states to watch, of course Washington tops the list. But Montana has also had some fun problems… and there’s so many other states that have relaxed their absentee voting requirements, that I expect that up to 20 states will report problems with their absentee voting integrity (or lack thereof).

For instance, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Police recently put out this report.

Ohio Secretary of State Wants to Make Voting Worse with VBM

Repeating the Vote-By Mail mantra, Ohio’s Secretary of State Brunner, “thinks some counties would find voting by mail more convenient and less expensive than opening polls on Election Day, and she wants the idea debated.”

Notice that she hasn’t argued that VBM is more secure, trustworthy, or acccurate. But she is worried about security:

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/04/15/votebymail.ART_ART_04-15-08_A1_RE9UB8A.html?sid=101

“She also wants to keep county elections officials from taking voting machines home with them on the eve of an election. Some officials do that so they can take them directly to the polls the next morning, but that raises security concerns, she said.”

Oh gee, that’s swell. She’s against election officials TAKING THE MACHINES HOME WITH THEM! Like that’s somehow a radical stance on reform?

Secretary Brunner took out the Republican SOS so famous for Ohio, 2004. Kenneth Blackwell. It would be nice if she’d act like she understood the dangers of voting by mail as well.

The underlying problem with both is the private control of vital elements of the voting system. Physical control of the voting machines, the software, or vote-by mail, all separate the poll worker from the system of vote counting. Voting machines remove the counting control, vote-by mail puts the physical ballot in the hand of the post office instead of the poll worker. Both are big mistakes. The poll voting system puts all the control in the hands of the people, and so far all the other systems take that away. Everything else is a form of privatization.