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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby, what'd I say?

A fascinating discussion was heard on yesterday afternoon's Mark and Dave radio show. Caller after caller phoned in to confess that yes, at their house, one member of the household gets to cast two votes in Oregon's vote-by-mail election system. The passive member of the couple just signs the ballot, then hands it over to the other one to fill out. The person whose name is signed on the envelope doesn't even know what's in it. "She (he) studies the issues more than I do, and we see eye-to-eye on most things, so I just let her (him) fill it out."

It's a wonderful system -- really.

Comments (20)

I have less heartburn over that than I do over the prospect of some local election official reprogramming the software, running stacks of cards twice, or otherwise manipulating hundreds or thousands of votes. But the vote-by-mail system is conducive to informality as well as to fraud, and informality diminishes the significance of voting — with just this kind of result.

Vote by mail is just an invitation to fraud. I'd guess most of the callers didn't really think they were doing anything seriously wrong by filling out somebody else's ballot. It's just election fraud. No biggie...

I came across this rather remarkable statement on page 3-62 of my Clackamas County Voter's Pamphlet: "Some families make voting a communal event, and that's all well and good, but make sure the envelope you sign is your own, and doesn't belong to another family member."

A "communal event" with Pa standing over everyone making sure they vote the "right" way. Just great...

The bus from the nursing home pulls up and the ambulatory residents file out with "voter Guides" in hand and shuffle over to the voting machines to do as asked.
At the old folks home the SEIU Nursing Assistant uses her "voter guide" to "assist" her residents in filling out their absentee ballot.

Ugly all around.

I asked several friends this morning if they have ever "helped" anybody vote their ballot: several said their spouses filled out their ballots this year (or they did it for their spouse) and one told me the same spouse filled out their elderly parent's ballot (due to poor vision and ambivalence)...I suggested that may constitute ballot fraud, and they just laughed.

One of them even justified it by saying: "if I feel strongly about a particular candidate or issue he'll vote with me on it."

But I'm sure these are just anecdotal exceptions to the rigid formality most people demand at their kitchen table.

These concerns are not nearly as problematic as the general ignorance about the people, the issues, the future, the money, the, the...
Not to mention the creeping,hard-to-shake feeling that the results of any vote may not amount to a hill of beans...

I ask my 22 year old who he voted for.
He tells me he voted for Kitz. Why?
"The other guy was in the NBA. "

His schoolmate explained why he was voting against the casino. Didn't want to screw the Indians any more than they have already been screwed.

Anyway, I'm happy that the jellyfish I voted for in 2008 just got his comeuppance. Not happy about too much else, because I have a feeling the republicans will be just as bad as the dems.

Remember that guy in Seattle who voted twice for Gregoire in 2004?

Seems his wife had died, but got her mail ballot anyway, so he went ahead and voted Gregoire because she would have.

Mail voting is ripe for fraud.

I would refer you to John Fund's excellent book "Stealing Elections" for an account of this and other voting shenanigans on both sides of the political spectrum.

Unfortunately, it will make you wonder if anyone in politics can be trusted.

How hard can it be to go to the polls today when in 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected with a turnout of 82.2%




Voter Participation in Presidential Elections, 1824–1928

Fraud in vote by mail happens all the time. I personally know of one person who claims to have voted more than a dozen ballots! He has people who don't want to vote sign the ballot and turn it over to him to fill out. Unfortunately there's no way to stop this practice with the current system. Boy, I sure miss going to polls. You really felt accomplished when you voted that way.

I know many people who confess to doing this.

It seems innocuous, but it's illegal. In fact it's illegal to even show your marked ballot to your spouse:

ORS 260.695(7)A person may not show the person’s own marked ballot to another person to reveal how it was marked.

The maximum fine is $250 (which is more than triple the fine for public employees who campaign on the clock).

Things get worse if there is something of value exchanged in the process. Years ago I knew a guy who had convinced his wife that in exchange for his weekly chore of mowing the lawn she should provide him with certain (ahem) services. Whether that strikes you as amusing, ingenious or unromantic - it seemed to work for them (their lawn was regularly mowed, twice a week during the summer).

It makes me wonder how many of the people who surrender their ballot to someone else get "something of value" in return.

I doubt any of them realize that it amounts to a felony (for both of them) under ORS 260.665(2)(a) & 260.665(3).

I miss going to the polls too. It took a little effort to be ready, but the feeling of accomplishment was great. In that little booth NO ONE could tell you what to do. Now its just another chore on the long list.

Speaking of fraud, that is an interesting power outage in Nevada. Go Harry!

More people had skin in the game in Lincoln's day.

My wife votes how I tell her to whether in a polling booth or at my knee with her mail in ballot. You pussies out their should get some control over your spousal units!

Whoops! The Lady Wife just advised me not to expect any "priveleges" in the near future. I take it all back, really!

The "Lady Wife"?...

I hear they are roasting marshmallows at MultCo elections over the bonfire of Dudley ballots that can't find their way to the counting machines.

I hear they are roasting marshmallows at MultCo elections over the bonfire of Dudley ballots that can't find their way to the counting machines.

If they haven't been counted, how would they know they were Dudley ballots?

I personally know of one person who claims to have voted more than a dozen ballots!

I personally know of one person who claims to personally know another person who claims to be Napoleon Bonaparte.

Man up and report the person you personaly know to your local elections office. Get them started checking signatures. Don't whine about it online.

While there are proabably stories to be told of inappropriate, or even outright illegal voting, don't try to sell me on returning to the tradiional polling places. Because then we would have to purchase electronic voting machines, and after hearing of all sorts of 'technical difficulites', such as repeatedly trying to vote for one candidate, and the machine trying to tell you you voted for another, or the outright possibility ( IMO probability, ) for someone to enter through a 'backdoor' and adjust the results more to their liking.
Huge contradictions from exit polling to actual precinct results, not explainable by any rational person, have been happening with regularity since we have migrated nationwide to electronic voting.
I like that paper trail in such matters.

Well, well, I talked to someone today who voted for his mother, who couldn't be bothered and "trusted his judgement".

The amazing thing was that this person appeared to honestly believe there was nothing illegal or even improper about this.

Will it take a ballot measure to get the elections people to put the requisite double bolded triple fonted warning on the envelopes so the little old ladies will think twice about fobbing their ballots off on family members?

And the fine is ridiculous. If I recall, all the people who signed the petition to get rid of mayor Creepy were threatened with 6-figure fines in the print above their signature line, if they committed any fraud...

"More people had skin in the game in Lincoln's day."

Yep...and they were all white males. Don't forget that well over 50% of the population couldn't vote.

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