Monday, December 12, 2005

A RIDICULOUS SACRIFICE TO CONVENIENCE

ABOLISH THE MAIL-IN VOTE

The Seattle Times throws more gas on the election controversy fire

"Many ballots are redone before they're counted"

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002678584_duplicate12m.html

In a rare stooping to the level of the real world, the Times relates that on average, 8% of all ballots Statewide are duplicated by poll workers because the ballots are either incorrectly marked or mangled in the mail.

According to the Times, this has been an electoral chore for some time but has only recently come under scrutiny...

Predictably, the party hacks have made it a partisan issue. The State Republican party chair is against the policy; the State Democratic party chair is for it...

It's safe to assume this means both think Republicans make fewer mistakes than Democrats, although nobody is saying so...

The only thing that can be said for certain is most of the "bad" ballots arrive by mail.

This last election I complained the "convenience" of all-mail voting was anything but convenient, ecpecially in my county, which still uses punch cards - a practice I naively assumed was still common. Now I'm reading that although most counties use the theoretically more user-friendly "black the oval" system, huge numbers of ballots aren't marked legibly and have to be touched up to be tabulated by the optical readers.

And even if the ballots are correctly marked, the Post Office can be counted on to mangle thousands more. I suppose they lose their share, too...

Enough of this. Voting is a right but it is also a duty. Who benefits from the mail-in vote?

It's often argued it's cheaper to run a mail-in election. Ignoring the fact "we" spend an absurdly small amount on the actual elections in the first place, I find this contention hard to believe. It must be terribly expensive to employ teams of two each to tediously go over the 100,000 illegible ballots each general election produces so they can be tabulated.

The duplication process also gives the party watchdogs a whole school of red-herring to use to their advantage in close contests.

What's the cost in that?

It's argued that many people are unable to get to a polling place. We can't disenfranchize grandma, after all... But there are common-sense solutions to that, too. Dial-a-ride systems can fill this gap, and if the "problem" warranted it, mobile polls could be installed in vans.

If it were really an issue, 100% access for the disabled could be guaranteed. The amount spent would be paltry next to the amount spent for disabled access in other situations.

Here's what I think is really at issue: Normal, healthy, well-off people are just too damn lazy to get their asses to the polls and vote. Oh, it's crouched in more diplomatic terms: People are too busy, or out of town, or... fill in your own excuse. There's one for everyone...

In Iraq this last summer people dodged bombs and bullets to go to a poll, and a higher percentage of Iraqis voted than did Americans in 2004. There's a civics lesson here. The right and responsibility of voting has mutated here in America into an entitlement, and as with all entitlements it can only escalate.

Sure I'll vote... As long as I don't have to go someplace... I can't miss my favorite sit-com, after all. And I don't give a rip if it makes the process into a circus.

Make election days Holidays with MANDATORY business closures, and abolish the mail-in vote. If you're too [whatever] to go to the polls but otherwise able, too bad. You probably don't know what you're voting for, anyway.

Comments:
Here Here! (Applause)

When I was in the Military, my Alaska absentee ballot had to be witnessed by an Election Officer (it was sent to that person, not to me, and was to be opened and executed with both of us present), who signed to indicate that I was not coached or coerced, and I was who I puported to be.

Now, as you say, it's just the lazy American way. You can (and from anecdotal evidence, people do) fill out there ballot while watching Oprah (or whatever), and chuck it back in the mail, without another (or a fore) thought...
 
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