Musings on Mail-in Voting

Eric Hogue was exploring the merits and shortfalls of California holding “mail-in” elections for the June primary and possibly other elections in the future. This idea is being floated in some recently introduced legislation that is expected to be debated later this year.

This idea is bad for a variety of reasons; some which exist now and others that could arise if the system is implemented.

Currently, once you register to vote as a permanent absentee voter, your ballot is automatically mailed to you in perpetuity or until the county clerk has some reason to drop you from the voter rolls.

This creates two problem areas. First, as with any other kind of voter registration, there is no requirement to prove citizenship or eligibility to vote. Secondly, your ballot can be disqualified and your vote may never be counted if someone at the county clerk’s office says your signature does not match the one on file from your voter registration card. This rule disproportionately impacts many senior citizens and results in many of their votes never being counted. If your ballot is disqualified for this reason, there is no requirement to notify the voter of a potential problem with their vote. Without such notification, the voter will continue to cast ballots which are subsequently disqualified.

A new area of abuse in the voting system should this proposal ever become law would be voters giving blank signed ballots to special interest groups in exchange for some perceived benefit to them or some group to which they have membership. The interest group would then punch the ballots and return them to the clerk’s office in their county.

Also, this proposal would allow illegal aliens, non-citizens and others without voting rights to be more insulated from any efforts to weed them off of the voting rolls.

If we want more voter involvement, a better way of doing that would be going to a system similar to Texas where they allow “early voting”. Early Voting is a system of consolidating precincts and allowing voting at a regular poling place several weeks before a scheduled election. The poling places are open five or six days a week to allow as many people as possible to vote.

The other reform worth looking at is having each county cross-check their voter rolls with other counties to remove duplicate registrations. This would require some type of state issued identification. This would be a step toward preventing such things as college students from voting twice (once at school and once at home) or people registered to vote at addresses where they no longer live from voting faithfully in every election.

Mail-in voting is just another opportunity to create more voter fraud in a state already full of tainted votes.