Friday, November 19, 2004

Vote By Mail

Vote By Mail
By Jeena Huntzinger

Pardon my naiveté, but I wonder why more (or all) states don't adopt vote by mail. Here in Oregon, the only state that has all its voting done by US mail, we receive voters' pamphlets in our mailboxes several weeks before an election and the actual ballots a week or two later. All one needs is a #2 pencil and some time to reflect on candidates and ballot measures. Sign the security envelope, put on a 37¢ stamp and mail it to the county elections clerk from the convenience of ones own home. If one prefers, the signed ballot can be dropped off at several voter sites up until 8:00PM election night.

My husband recently hurt his right hand and had to sign his ballot with a cast restricting his signature. He was concerned his vote would not be counted, since his ballot signature was not exactly like that on his voter registration card. We asked our county elections clerk for clarification. She told us that if there is a concern that the registered voter had not actually been the one to sign the ballot, the elections board would have to contact that voter by mail within 10 days of receiving the ballot. Although Oregon has only been voting by mail for a few years, the elections clerk said there had never been any cases of signature fraud in our county.

In this presidential election, Oregon recorded an 85% registered voter turnout. The cost is minimal, especially compared to funding voting machines, precinct sites and workers. The paper trail that is so important for recounts is there. Once a ballot has been received and all political parties cross names off their polling lists, the part I like the best begins. NO more polls or pitches!

So, my humble question is this: if all this trouble with touch screen voting without paper backup is causing angst, why not adopt Oregon's vote by mail plan? It works for us!

Jeena Huntzinger
Dallas, Oregon
(yes, there is another Dallas - named for President Polk's vice president)

Originally posted in TruthSeekersElection2004 Yahoo Group
Wed, 17 Nov 2004