Well, it is the first Tuesday after the first Monday on a Leap Year, so you what it is….YES!! It is Election Week here at the Spew, so you can imagine this week we are focusing on all things….election-y. And as a reminder, go vote!! Unless you are voting for things I disagree with , then don’t vote!!
The first year I voted was 1996. I went to my old elementary school, was greeted with a smile, stood in line for about 2 minutes, went into the booth, read all the propositions, judges, etc, filled in the bubbles, handed it to a very amiable volunteer who fed it into a Scantron, and I got a ‘I Voted’ sticker that I wore for 3 days. And every 4 years since then, that was the way I voted.
Until this time.
I received a ballot in the mail. In this ballot were very specific instructions on how to fill in the bubbles, what type of pen can be used, how to cross out something if a mistake is made, and how to tuck it back into the envelope to avoid the ballot being invalid.
Washington is an all mail-in voting state. Oregon was the first state to do this, and Oregon being soooo ahead of the curve and progressive, Washington had to follow suit. Now more states are doing this all mail-in thing and I am sure it will become more popular as time passes.
On the surface it sounds like an OK idea. Not only does this increase the chances of more voters due to the convenience, it gives you time to muse about the options, read the literature about local and state issues, and vote in a more informed way.
But on the surface Communism is a good idea.
I think there are big problems with this method of voting, both current and potentially awful issues.
For one, you have to have an address to vote. Sounds simple, everyone has an address, right? Well no, there are people who do not at a given time and they are allowed to vote. Also, your address has to be on the government record and has to be CORRECT. In my short time here, I know of a few people who either never received a ballot or got one addressed to someone else. Granted, it is legal to go to the City Hall and get a fresh ballot sot it is not impossible, but how many people are actually going to do that? Not 100% for sure.
Secondly and what I find more dangerous is the potential of your ballot being either declared ‘invalid’ or just simply lost. We all know the USPS is far from 100% on accuracy of deliveries, and even worse on timeliness. But there is another issue; if you did not fill out the ballot in the exact, detailed way it is instructed on the form, is your vote now invalid? How about if your envelope is sloppily closed? Was it tampered with? Now anyone knows there is no vote gremlin who goes around changing peoples vote at night, but we saw what happened in 2000. I am just afraid in a close election, how much discussion will there be over votes that are filled out ion pencil, or in red ink, or looked a bit dog-eared, or the envelope was not sealed correctly. Because we all know that even given specific instructions, people mess up things. I bet over 25% of Washington mailed in voted are not sent in in the optimal way it was illustrated. I used to teach, trust me, people don’t follow instructions. But regardless if the ballot was not done exactly right, those voices should still be heard. You can’t just throw those ballots out.
If there was a voting place, those issues can be caught immediately and therefore corrected. Also you would have more confidence that your vote was processed correctly and counted because you were there when the Scantron ingested your ballot.
I don’t like this mail-in thing. I see too many issues with it. But it is the way of the future. Well until there is a close vote and lawyers get involved.