[note: there are hyperlinks and an embedded video at the linked story (although I couldn't get the video to play on my phone)]
Beware the push for a nationwide vote-by-mail election
By Jimmy Sengenberger
May 8, 2020 - 6:00 AM
If Democrats are worried about pitting states against one another over ventilators and N95 masks, they ought to abandon the push for a quick, national switch to vote-by-mail elections for 2020, lest ballots become as scarce as masks and ventilators.
As states examine this possibility and Congress considers nudging them along (or even forcing participation in statewide vote-by-mail), there are two angles to consider: the merit of vote-by-mail systems and speedy implementation to address COVID-19 fears.
Today, only five states have vote-by-mail systems. In 2013, my state of Colorado became the third to make the switch. I was deeply skeptical at first, but three off-year elections, two midterms, and one presidential election later, I’m less cynical.
Vote-by-mail elections are more convenient and reduce costs. The process is straightforward and consistent. Vote-by-mail can still provide voters with the chance to drop their ballots in a drop-off location or to fill a ballot out at a voting precinct. Campaigns can allocate resources more wisely by removing voters from lists after their ballots have been cast. Finally, it is still the case that large swaths of voters (including me) wait until Election Day to drop our ballots.
On the other hand, vote-by-mail is far from perfect. Evidence is scant that voter turnout is necessarily and noticeably higher than in-person voting. States such as Colorado have ID requirements that are insufficient, particularly with the availability of same-day registration. Vote centers in rural and mountainous areas may run into bandwidth and connectivity issues. Ballot harvesting can be perilous for election integrity.
On balance, vote-by-mail can be good when done right. Colorado, for example, has held vote-by-mail elections where Republicans performed well and ones where Democrats did well. Compared to the national mood and voter registration numbers, the voting model doesn’t really change outcomes. Additionally, election experts differ on whether in-person voting or vote-by-mail leads to more voter fraud.
Yet even if vote-by-mail is generally positive, that doesn’t mean 2020 is the year for nationwide expansion.
Democrats are fooling themselves if they think state systems can be completely revamped in a matter of months. As former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams pointed out on my web show recently, it took the state a decade to get ready for vote-by-mail elections. Likewise, for Oregon and Washington. Admittedly, those three states were pioneers, and others would follow their lead. But the inherent complexities are inescapable.
For instance, electronic poll books and accurate databases must be properly generated with verifiable voter signatures. Voting centers and ballot counting locations need to have strong broadband connectivity and a system that can handle the load. Election judges must be trained and thoroughly understand how to adapt to a new system. Moreover, a one-size-fits-all approach is doomed to fail. Each state has unique circumstances that must be reflected in the process.
As Matt Crane, former clerk of Arapahoe County, Colorado, observed: “States that are currently below 20% mail will have a very challenging time duplicating the Colorado model in six months. However, there’s a lot they can do to encourage more absentee voting and remove barriers to that process. It’s unfortunate it’s taken an emergency to get some states to move on this.”
Election integrity is also critical. While fraud generally isn’t more likely under vote-by-mail, it would almost certainly be under rushed vote-by-mail. States will probably be incapable of swiftly and effectively establishing massive, reliable databases where both voter IDs and signatures can be cross-referenced easily and efficiently. The number of provisional ballots required could be astronomical, likely contributing to nationwide lawsuits that would make hanging chads blush.
Finally, former Colorado Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert notes that mail ballot printers are “single points of failure” with too few printers. “We had problems every year … For example, in 2016, we had 1.1 million ballots held in a printer dispute over a die cutter. One printer literally locked out another printer.”
Vote-by-mail itself may be a good idea, but not if it’s rushed. If the entire country made the switch for November 2020, as Democrats insist, printers will become the new ventilators, electoral confidence will crater, and Putin will smile.
Jimmy Sengenberger is the host of Jimmy at the Crossroads, a webshow in partnership with the Washington Examiner that focuses on the intersection of politics and economics, as well as The Jimmy Sengenberger Show on Denver’s News/Talk 710 KNUS.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Modern Day Savage,
|Sigforum K9 handler|
Shit, why not just text your vote to 30330. It works for American Idol.
"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011
Don't even joke about that...it might give the Left ideas and I've already been considering that very possibility...text in voting or voting online. Especially given that we have same day voter registration, illegal aliens receiving driver licenses, and the ability to register to vote in a different jurisdiction simply by declaring an intention to move there.
Ironic to think that the same people so concerned about "Russian Collusion", in the same breath, support relaxed voting requirements.
Dems gonna dem.
You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier
|Gracie Allen is my |
Look at the bright(ish) side. California's Governor Goodhair just issued an executive order requiring that every voter be mailed a ballot for the upcoming election. It's bound to be a horrific failure and the stories coming out of there will be a real caution to spread across the rest of the country. So why is that the bright side? Because California is effectively a monolithic blue state, the potential downside of Dem corruption for the rest of the country is effectively minimized.
Hell id like vote online, go to website enter your SSN and click on your candidate.
Raise unholy hell if your SSN has been used, should be easy to get your vote recast and send cops to the IP address of whoever used your SSN.
|Muzzle flash |
That system would eliminate the concept of secret voting. Voting is supposed to be a personal thing, with no one knowing how another person voted. I support that concept and would be against any method that damages it.
Texan by choice, not accident of birth
Mail in voting.....The fraud would be paramount!!!
the really good thing about voting by mail is that you get to count all the votes, but then toss out the ones you don't like
thats the reason dems are pushing for it...makes voter fraud so much easier
This all day. Cheating motherfucker jackasses !
|No double standards|
Seems to me mail in ballots provide one more opportunity for vote fraud. In CA it won't matter, there is sufficient fraud that they will count more votes for Dems than there are people in CA.
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it....While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it"
- Judge Learned Hand, May 1944
|186,000 miles per second.|
It's the law.
I am of the opinion that mail in voting is more secure than electronic voting. I have read many stories about voting machines being easily hacked. I have seen similar stories in various publications, but here is one from a relatively conservative source.
If you can go to Walmart you can go to a polling place.
|Green grass and |
we vote absentee and have for years. It is gonna happen. Especially now.
"Practice like you want to play in the game"
We have had mail in voting for several years here in Colorado, and to the best of my knowledge, we haven't had any wide spread systemic problems...although I still don't trust it. I make it a point to wait until just before the election, often on election day, and personally drop my ballot in one of the nearby drop boxes. In our election this past March, the drop box I normally use at the Clerk and Recorders Office wasn't accessible due to street closure construction, however a group of designated readily identifiable volunteers (wearing yellow day-glo vests saying something about elections) manned a designated drop box located on the curb in front of the Clerk & Recorders Office...drivers on the busy road could literally hand their ballot through the car window to a volunteer in full view of the public, to be walked to the nearby drop box. I had business downtown so rather than handing my ballot off I walked to the drop location and dropped my ballot in the box personally.
I also visited one of the remote drive-up ballot drop locations at one of our local parks, and it struck me as being much more vulnerable to potential tampering, although there was a camera placed nearby on a pole.
But, as the article above points out, Colorado took 10 years to properly plan and prepare for secure mail in voting.
[Note: there are hyperlinks at the linked story website]
Mail-in Ballots are a Recipe for Confusion, Coercion, and Fraud
By JOHN FUND May 10, 2020 8:29 PM
So, naturally, Democrats are pushing to have them sent to every voter — or ‘voter.’
Enormous pressure is being mounted to use our current crisis as an excuse to transform how we vote in elections.
“Coronavirus gives us an opportunity to revamp our electoral system,” Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, recently told Time magazine. “These are changes that we should make permanent because it will enhance our democracy.”
The ideas Holder and others are proposing include requiring that a mail-in ballot be automatically sent to every voter, which would allow people to both register and vote on Election Day. It would also permit “ballot harvesting,” whereby political operatives go door-to-door collecting ballots that they then deliver to election officials. All of these would dramatically reduce safeguards protecting election integrity.
But liberals see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sweep away the current system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that a mandatory national vote-by-mail option be forced on states in the first Coronavirus aid bill. She retreated only when she was ridiculed for shamelessly using the bill to push a political agenda. But Pelosi has promised her Democratic caucus that she will press again to overhaul election laws in the next aid bill.
If liberals can’t mandate vote-by-mail nationally, they will demand that states take the lead. Last Friday, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order requiring that every registered voter — including those listed as “inactive” — be mailed a ballot this November.
This could be a disaster waiting to happen. Los Angeles County (population 10 million) has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. More than one out of every five L.A. County registrations probably belongs to a voter who has moved, or who is deceased or otherwise ineligible.
Just last January, the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch reached a settlement agreement with the State of California and L.A. County officials to begin removing as many as 1.5 million inactive voters whose registrations may be invalid. Neither state nor county officials in California have been removing inactive voters from the rolls for 20 years, even though the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed last year, in Husted v. Randolph Institute, a case about Ohio’s voter-registration laws, that federal law “makes this removal mandatory.”
Experts have long cautioned against wholesale use of mail ballots, which are cast outside the scrutiny of election officials. “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,” was the conclusion of the bipartisan 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker.
That remains true today. In 2012, a Miami–Dade County Grand Jury issued a public report recommending that Florida change its law to prohibit “ballot harvesting” unless the ballots are “those of the voter and members of the voter’s immediate family.” “Once that ballot is out of the hands of the elector, we have no idea what happens to it,” they pointed out. “The possibilities are numerous and scary.”
Indeed. In 2018, a political consultant named Leslie McCrae Dowless and seven others were indicted on charges of “scheming to illegally collect, fill in, forge and submit mail-in ballots” to benefit Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, the Washington Post reported. The fraud was extensive enough that Harris’s 900-vote victory was invalidated by the courts and the race was rerun.
Texas has a long history of intimidation and coercion involving absentee ballots. The abuse of elderly voters is so pervasive that Omar Escobar, the Democratic district attorney of Starr County, Texas, says, “The time has come to consider an alternative to mail-in voting.” Escobar says it needs to be replaced with “something that can’t be hijacked.”
Even assuming that the coronavirus remains a serious health issue in November, there is no reason to abandon in-person voting. A new Heritage Foundation report by Hans von Spakovsky and Christian Adams notes that in 2014, the African nation of Liberia successfully held an election in the middle of the Ebola epidemic. International observers worked with local officials to identify 40 points in the election process that constituted an Ebola transmission risk. Turnout was high, and the United Nations congratulated Liberia on organizing a successful election “under challenging circumstances, particularly in the midst of difficulties posed by the Ebola crisis.”
In Wisconsin recently, officials held that state’s April primary election in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Voters who did not want to vote in-person, including the elderly, could vote by absentee ballot. But hundreds of thousands of people cast ballots at in-person locations, and overall turnout was high. Officials speculated that a few virus cases “may” have been related to Election Day, but, as AP reported, they couldn’t confirm that the patients “definitely got [COVID-19] at the polls.”
In California, the previous loosening of absentee ballot laws have sent disturbing signals. In 2016, a San Pedro couple found more than 80 unused ballots on top of their apartment-building mailbox. All had different names but were addressed to an 89-year-old neighbor who lives alone in their building. The couple suspected that someone was planning to pick up the ballots, but the couple had intercepted them first. In the same election, a Gardena woman told the Torrance Daily Breeze that her husband, an illegal alien, had gotten a mail-in ballot even though he had never registered.
“I think it’s a huge deal,” she said. “Something is definitely wrong with the system.”
The Los Angeles Times agrees. In a 2018 editorial it blasted the state’s “overly-permissive ballot collection law” as being “written without sufficient safeguards.” The Times concluded that “the law passed in 2106 does open the door to coercion and fraud and should be fixed or repealed.” It hasn’t been.
John Lieberman, a Democrat living in East Los Angeles, wrote in the Los Angeles Daily News that he was troubled by how much pressure a door-to-door canvasser put on him to fill out a ballot for candidate Wendy Carrillo. “What I experienced from her campaign sends chills down my spine,” he said.
What should also spook voters who want an honest election is a report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It found that, in 2016, more mail ballots were misdirected to wrong addresses or unaccounted for than the number of votes separating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She led by 2.9 million votes, yet 6.5 million ballots were misdirected or unaccounted for by the states.
It would be the height of folly for other states to follow California’s lead. In the Golden State, it already takes over a month to resolve close elections as mail-in ballots trickle in days and weeks after Election Day. Putting what may be a supremely close presidential election into the hands of a U.S. Postal Service known for making mistakes sounds like a recipe for endless litigation and greatly increased distrust in our democracy.
JOHN FUND is National Review’s national-affairs reporter. @johnfund
Forgetting about fraud or the infallibility of the post office for a moment, it would take weeks! Which I can see why the media would love it, they could have their election night hysteria every night for a month, they'd love the chance of the ratings draw.
Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
I was listening to NPR in the car the other day, and there was some twit on there making a huge deal about how it's totally inhumane, irresponsible, and racist to expect people go to the polls in the midst of the covid crisis.
As I was listening, the only thing I could think of was back in 2005, when Iraq held elections for the first time after the war. Thousands of people lined up in the streets, facing a very real threat of IEDs, gunfire, kidnappings, etc...just for the right to vote. Yet we in the United States don't have the balls to practice the basic tenant of democracy because we're afraid of a cold. It's shameful.
I'm being repressed!
|Muzzle flash |
The Iraq photo suggested to me that we should dye all the Democrat voters' fingers to keep them for voting more than once.
Texan by choice, not accident of birth
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