The No Vote By Mail Project Gets Own Mail Ballot Rejected

Mail Ballot Rejected

Mail Ballot Rejected

Here at The No Vote By Mail Project, run by me, Gentry Lange, I don’t relish getting letters from the county auditor that look like the one above. If you can’t read it, it basically tells me that my vote-by mail ballot wasn’t cast in time for the primary election, and therefore it was not counted.

However, I recall casting my ballot (by dropping it in the outgoing mail of my girlfriend’s apartment in Seattle where I was staying), a full day before the election. But oddly, they just didn’t get it in time. My guess is that in many apartment buildings outgoing mail isn’t routinely checked. So my mistake was in trusting the system. I should have dropped my ballot off at the post office, or directly at elections. But the system encourages you to follow your folly and toss it in the mail, so I tried it… and I failed.

I also recall thinking I should have photographed the mailing of my ballot for proof that I mailed it before it was due… because the building just got new mail boxes, and I thought maybe the postman wasn’t picking up mail yet from the new boxes… even though the old mailbox wasn’t really there anymore. But alas, it turns out that they were picking up the mail there, because I got this letter that says they got my ballot, late.

Now, if I wasn’t the Director of the No Vote By Mail Project, I’d say something was a bit fishy. But knowing that the vote-by mail voting system is full of holes, I know it is just standard operating procedure. I’ve watched too many friends open a similar letter, a letter telling them that their signature didn’t match the signature at the County on file and therefore their ballot didn’t count, either.

Vote-by mail is about the worst possible system for voting I have ever encountered as a voter. Don’t believe the hype, get the facts, and start fighting in your state to stop the switch to vote by mail. Vote by mail is worse than touchscreens, worse than centralized vote counts, it’s all the bad things in one convenient package. Heck, if you think about it an absentee ballot isn’t even a secret ballot.

But alas, I fear Americans are far too willing to sacrifice their rights for convenience, and won’t notice when their secret ballot disappeared any more than they noticed when the vote counting became computerized.

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.


On the Road to Montana, then I’ll be back next week, so here’s some lite reading

Here’s your assignment, while I’m on a vacation for the next week 😉 

I should try to meet the guy that interviewed me for radio over in Idaho while I’m passing through. Somewhere in this blog I’ll find his name. That’s what this blog is… it’s a useful index card system of info and failures I’ve found so far with forced mail voting systems. Which, coincidentally, is a system that will be coming to a state near you  soon.

If you like the new look of the website, check-out the calendar on the right…. it’s interesting to see how many posts I’ve made on this subject so far. The calendar links you to all my posts by the day I wrote them. It also makes me feel sorta lazy some times. What I only published one rant on Vote-by Mail this week? Gosh, someone might have read my blog lately and thought, jesus this guy isn’t serious about disliking voting by mail, he hasn’t posted a new rant on absentee voting in like 10 whole days now.

Actually, this blog started when I began writing a book on vote-by mail. But somewhere along the way the blog became more important to me than the book.  It’s easier to share. And if you use the search function, or the calendar, or the archive links in the left column of the site, you’ll find that this blog is growing deeper day by day, data point by date point. But, if you want to publish my writing as a book I’d be more than happy to talk!

So thanks for reading. Set a bookmark for The No Vote By Mail Project’s blogsite… And I’ll be back next week to continue my ongoing monologue about Democracy in the age of Convenience and Technology.

While in the spirit of being on vacation for a week, here’s an another article worth linking to again, put it on your reading list for this week. There will be a quiz when I return.