Florida Mail-In Vote a Bad Idea

DAMMIT…they stole my thunder…

Congressional representatives from Florida rejected the idea of a hybrid primary vote today. Even Taguchi figured that out. I did a little research. For this, we need to look to Oregon. In 1981, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a bill allowing vote by mail (VBM) elections. It wasn’t until the scandalous resignation of Republican Senator Bob Packwood that Oregon sprung into action with VBM in 1996. Today in Oregon, a citizen has no option to vote in a booth…it’s all VBM. However, it has been a long and painstaking process. They have conducted at least two studies into their system. One of those studies has revealed that VBM is wildly popular among voters and also serves to increase turnout across almost every demographic.

The other study, chaired by President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, is of much more significance here. In short (since they stole my damn thunder), it says:

  • Hybrid voting systems (where the voter has the option of voting in person or by mail) are problematic because they force voting officials to actually conduct two elections at once. To that end, one county official said, “under the (hybrid) system we weer putting out fires all over the county on election day.” The difficulties of running both kinds of elections simultaneously increased the likelihood of confusion and of mistakes.
  • One of the primary VBM security measures in Oregon is the signature verification process, wherein election workers compare the signature on every return identification envelope with the signature scanned from the voter’s registration card.
  • Finally, there is concern over the potential for voting fraud and coercion in any system that lacks the fundamental privacy of the voting booth. In many respects, these conclusions remain vali, at least when examined in the context of Oregon’s all-mail balloting system. However, the study cited that Oregon has had a historically clean, open and permeable election system, with no history of machine politics or election fraud. The implication is that while voting by mail has worked well in Oregon, it may not work as well in regions, states or localities with a more contentious political culture.

HERRRR-O-OOOOOOOOO! Remember this?

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Sorry, Florida. You get no leeway. If the Bush camp can rig Florida, then I’m fully confident that the Clinton camp can do the same. I realize these are strong allegations, and we’ll never know if they are substantiated…but the allegations are enough to sack your attempt to conduct a makeshift primary using the most difficult-to-manage voting system possible. Whatever you want to call it, Florida 2000 was probably the greatest election fiasco in American history…or at least of our time. Now Florida wants to hold it’s primary on the fly (after making their bed already)? As our buddy The Shire would say, “I f***ing doubt it.”

Ironically, the Carter-Baker study contains this golden nugget:

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has even referred to absentee ballots as the tool of choice for those inclined to commit voter fraud.

NEXT? (sorry Spanks…I stole your thunder)

Carter-Baker study:
http://www.sos.state.or.us/executive/votebymail/pdf_files/CarterBaker.pdf

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