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View Diary: 2011 MIT Report: 21% of Absentee Votes are NOT Counted (18 comments)

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  •  The 21% is for ballots requested, not returned. (11+ / 0-)

    That Stewart 2010 paper is also available online. That includes the author's estimates for each of his three categories:

    Requests not fulfilled (for any reason, including good ones): 3.9 million

    Ballots received by voter but not returned: 2.9 million

    Ballots returned but not counted: 0.8 million

    My absentee ballot in California would not be counted had I forgotten to sign it or print my address on the right line. I hear some ballots require 65 cents postage instead of 45 cents. There are many ways to get to that 0.8 million, if that's an accurate guess. It's still enough to justify educating people, but the problem is nowhere near as large as you say, using the same source you use.  

    •  Thank you! (6+ / 0-)

      I was just going to post the same thing.  There are a host of reasons for absentee ballots not being returned, the principal one being that the voter had thought they'd be out of town on election day, but changed their plans.  The REAL statistic is that slightly more than 2% of absentee ballots aren't counted, which probably isn't much different than ballots cast in person on Election Day.

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 09:28:51 AM PDT

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      •  In our close elections, can we afford to lose any (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maxzj05

        votes?

        See comment below, quote from the Stewarts report.

        And this on page 600

        As voting by mail seems destined to spread even further, it is incumbent upon us to understand better what this means in terms of lost votes.

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 09:42:16 AM PDT

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    •  Point well taken (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maybeeso in michigan, maxzj05

      However, still an issue that needs addressing (no pun)

      From Stewarts report:

      Pages 589-590

      If we add together the estimated number of people whose ballot requests were unfulfilled, the number of ballots not returned for count- ing, and the returned ballots that were not counted, we determine that a total of 7.6 million votes left the mail-ballot pipeline at some point between requesting a ballot and the counting of the ballots. This amounts to 21% of all ballot requests.

      What should we glean from these estimates?

      First, the 7.6 million figure (or the 21% rate) should not be taken as a firm measure of the number of potential mail voters whose votes were lost in 2008.

      However, even if the estimated number of unfulfilled requests for a mail ballot is off by an order of magnitude—that is, the correct estimate is closer to 390,000 than 3.9 million—the resulting lost vote estimate is still around 4.1 million, or a lost vote rate of 13%.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 09:31:04 AM PDT

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    •  That does not sound "leaky" at all (0+ / 0-)

      Those are typical problems encountered in any system. We encounter them here in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, Ohio) every day, where ballots DO require 65 cents and it is clearly stated on the ballot envelope that they do. Way too many people do not follow directions. One problem I am concerned about, given the voided ballots I see during the in-person process, is voters who do things like vote for multiple candidates. Many people fill in the first oval they seen, then realize they have voted for Virgil Goode (real occurrence). If they are at the BoE, it's easy to come back to the desk and request another ballot. (You can get up to two more). If you are at home, you might not feel as compelled to do that and think, "Well, maybe if I cross it out and vote for Obama it will count." It won't.

      The most hilarious voided ballot I saw was one where the person voted for every single candidate on the front page including all seven presidential slates — except for U.S. Senate candidate Josh 'The Empty Suit" Mandel. That was the only blank oval and his name was crossed out. I understand the feeling, but that vote would not have counted and I can only assume the voter did things correctly on his new ballot.

      I did mentally cross out Joshie's name when I was voting though.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 10:33:15 AM PDT

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