Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Voting by mail

One of the unique qualities of our new state is that everybody votes absentee. When you think about it, it makes good sense. We got our ballots in the mail about a week ago. Shortly after that we got two booklets explaining all the candidates and the constitutional initiatives (they have lots here.) You have until election day to get them back to the county clerk. If you mail them they have the amount of postage needed printed on the ballot. If you are smart and want to save the $.63 you can hand deliver it to one of two drop off places in town.

There are many advantages to mail in voting. While there is cost in mailing the ballots out and the booklets explaining them, there is no cost in the staffing the polling places. They use paper ballots similar to the ones we used in Holland (connect the arrow with a dark pen) so they can be read electronically in the clerk's office.

There is no pressure, so I am sure there are fewer spoiled ballots. You can check and recheck that you vote the way you want to (in the cases where you have to say yes to mean no.) We read that several other states are interested in the Oregon experience...yet there is a move out there to discredit the process. The main complaint is that people will get ballots that don't deserve them...or that people will die and not be taken off the rolls, then someone else fills out the ballot that arrives at the residence. But I think they have systems in place to keep fraud at a minimum.

In this age of voter fraud, these ballots leave a paper trail, which even in the midst of electronic wizardry is a problem.

No comments: