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This is Jeremy Wright.  Campaign manager for the 1998 Vote by Mail initiative and political advisor to two Oregon Secretaries of State.  I have noticed Kos pushing VBM which is great and I also noticed alot of questions about the mechanics of the system so I thought I would help on that front.  This will be more about the actual mechanics of how it works and less about the merits of VBM.

When are ballots mailed?

Ballots are mailed between 20-22 days before election day.  

They are mailed bulk and ballots are not forwaded.

What is in the ballot envelope?

Your ballot envelope also contains two envelopes - a return envelope and a secrecy envelope.  And of course your ballot.

What do you do with the ballot?

Well vote obviously.  But HOW?

Ballots are filled out with a #2 pencil and are the optical scanner variety (like the SAT test - you fill in ovals next to your candidate).

You fill out your ballot and then place it in the secrecy envelope.

You place the secrecy envelope in the return envelope. You sign the back of your return envelope swearing you are who you are.

You then can either mail the ballot in or drop it off at county elections offices or the numerous official drop off sites around the county like libraries, public squares, supermarkets etc.  

For those looking for a more traditional voting experience can head to their county elections office where actual ballot booths are still available.  The mechanics of the voting system are the same.

You have to have RETURNED your ballot by 8:00 p.m. on election day.  Postmarks do not count.

Great you voted, but what happens then?

When your ballot is received at the elections office they first check your signature.  All voter registration cards in Oregon are scanned into a statewide voter file.  The county elections staff call up each ballot received to check the signature versus the registration card.  

How do they know who you are?  Next to your signature on the back of the return envelope is your basic info and a barcode so that they can quickly pull up your registration card.

If the signature matches then you are marked as voted in the system and the secrecy envelope containing your ballot is removed and stored in a secure location.  The secrecy envelopes are NOT opened until election day.

If the signature does not match then the county elections officials calls you and ask you to come down to the elections office to double check your signature and verify the ballot.

When are the ballots counted?

As I previously stated they are stored in a secure location until election day.  On election day they begin counting ballots at 8:00 a.m.  This means that many times by the times "polls" close at 8:00 p.m results are almost immediately available.

That's about it.  I will be happy to answer any questions. UPDATE: Alot of the comments are on the merits or problems with VBM and I have tried to answer them to the best of my ability. Please keep in mind that every election system has it's vulnerabilities. The question to ask is how vulnerable is it to WIDESPREAD tampering and voter supression. VBM seems to limit the risk on that front. And what are the benefits of the system to increase turnout.

Originally posted to FinneganOregon on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:04 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If you ask me there should be a... (34+ / 0-)

    ...MAJOR push on the part of the lefty blogosphere to enact this style of voting.  We should coordinate with democratic leaders at the state and national level to gain traction.  

    It just makes too much sense.

    Yes, yes, I'm in Down East magazine this month. Film at 11.

    by Bill in Portland Maine on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:03:59 AM PST

    •  Yes, I have written to people about this (4+ / 0-)

      Conyers, Carter, and the CDEM have all gotten bugged by me. The CDEM person said that they were looking into the Oregon system.

      I've also written to them about the ID card stuff. They say that if they regulate the ID cards then they will be fairer than if individual states come up with their own plans.

      One nation, under surveillance, no liberty, nor justice for us

      by SisTwo on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:20:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And it should be tied in to a prize - (0+ / 0-)

      just like the lottery - have a series of  cash prizes awarded at random to selected voters. They can be identified from the mailing envelope without the ballot being compromised. The funds can come from the savings of not needing to have polling places.

      1000 $1000 prizes would only cost a million.

      One way to increase citizen voting.

      Give a man a fish, he dines today, teach him how to fish, he dines tomorrow, teach him how to sell fish and he eats steak! Anon.

      by Serendipity on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:31:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes a profit motivator (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RainyDay, Reel Woman

        just isn't the right model.

        It isn't working for polling machines.  I don't want to see it for votes.

        Someone who doesn't care about the $1,000,000s affected by the election isn't someone I want voting just for a chance to get the $1,000 lottery payout.

        this message is intended to inform. any annoyance, abuse, threat, or harassment is solely in the perception of the reader, not the intention of the poster.

        by horsewithnoname on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:57:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting proposal, (0+ / 0-)

        but I'm a little leery of that. I like to think that voting is seen as civic duty, not just another scratch-off game sponsored by your local government.

    •  can you redister unenrolled? (0+ / 0-)

      or are you forced to register as a dem or repub?

      If you are forced to pick one (in order to get the correct ballot) then this is not the solution!

      We must be able to register as unenrolled or anaffilliated and pick a ballot at vote time, otherwise its just a party reinforcement tool.

      Be Careful what you ask for.

      take back the election process from the parties, register unenrolled.

      by ex99125b on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:32:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can register (5+ / 0-)

        as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Pacific Green, Constitution, Not a Member of a Party (Independent) or write in something else on the line provided.

        Oregon Voter Registration Form (WARNING - PDF file!)

        In the primary elections, you can only vote for candidates who are running as members of the party you are registered under.  If you register Independent, then you cannot participate in the primaries.  I hope Oregon switches to open primaries some day.

      •  I live in Oregon (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RickWn, ex99125b, RainyDay

        You can register as whatever you want. If you register as an independent, you can't vote in partisan primaries, though in practice there are always non-partisan primaries (city council, etc.) and various state and county measures to vote on, so you'd still get a ballot in those elections as well.

        I didn't like vote by mail at first, either, but it sure makes votes hard to steal.

        Finally, there's a definite subculture of political geeks like myself who prefer the "excitement" of hand-delivering our ballots to Election Headquarters on Election Day.

        Forget the username; it's the sig line that they'll remember you by.

        by Blank Frank on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:57:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I vote by mail in Washington (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ex99125b

        We are not required to register as Dem or Rep.  During primaries, all of the races are on a single ballot but at the top of the ballot you have to choose whether you intend to vote for the republican or democratic choices.  You have to pick one slate, but it is a choice you make in the comfort of your own living room.  

        When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

        by flo58 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:06:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I totally disagree (9+ / 0-)

      Bring me your ballots signed on the outside but otherwise blank, and I will pay you $100. Or, if you don't, I will beat you. Or I will exclude you from our church service.

      The Oregon study itself concludes that:

      Demographically, Oregon is a moderately wealthy state and is ethnically homogeneous. Oregon has historically had a participative culture, and vote by mail seems to have had little impact on it (in the words of Director Lindback, “Oregon may no longer have the old rituals, but we have our own new
      ones.”) Oregon has historically had a clean, open, and permeable election system, with no history of machine politics or election fraud. Oregon election officials remain proud of their non-partisan tradition. The implication is that while voting by mail has worked well in Oregon, it may not work as well in regions, states, or localities with a more contentious political culture.

      Ah, for a panacea. But no!

      If you're not angry, you've already given up.

      by peeder on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:42:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blank ballots (4+ / 0-)

        Ridiculous.

        You have to seal the ballot in the secrecy envelope, sign it, then mail that in another envelope.  Can you say tampering with mail is a federal offense?  That is far more secure in my mind than any type of receiptless voting machine.  

        We're all just monkeys burning in hell. SmokeyMonkey.org

        by smokeymonkey on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:50:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)

          Every system has inherent flaws.

          VBM just seems to have the least of them

        •  Whaddya mean "Ridiculous?" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SlackerInc, lotlizard

          I fill out or verify the choices I have made for you, then you sign it and we drop it at a collection point.

          Or I just go ahead and obtain a sample of your signature (easy enough) and copy it with an autopen.

          Tampering with voting at all is a federal offense, and isn't that what we're trying to stop via design?

          The scale and ease at which fraud or coercion can occur is directly related to the design. This design doesn't help at all, makes things a lot worse in that department. It would have been done universally years ago if it was that much better!

          If you're not angry, you've already given up.

          by peeder on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:57:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Era (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Peace JD, RickWn, mariva

            What era are you talking about, exactly?  You speak from historical fiction, paranoia, or conspiracy theory.  Who comes to your house and demands your ballot?  Give me a break, peeder.

            We're all just monkeys burning in hell. SmokeyMonkey.org

            by smokeymonkey on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:58:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Me? Paranoia or conspiracy theory? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SlackerInc

              That's transference plain and simple. It's paranoia and conspiracy theory that's driving a follhardy will to change what has more or less worked for centuries.

              I myself think optical scan is a fine enough solution for the moment, with absentee as an exception, not a rule. I do think fair and effective machines could be built and implemented, but I would have Condorcet voting systems and the like as the driver of that change. We will need a more technologically savvy culture than we have to do that.

              If you're not angry, you've already given up.

              by peeder on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:04:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Optical scan (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mariva, CSI Bentonville

                What about having your ballot early prevents the use of optical scanners?  You're not really making sense.

                Vote by mail doesn't change anything; it puts the ballot in your hands weeks in advance of the election.  Feel free to take it to the polling place and watch it being scanned.  The cost savings, even if everyone did that instead of just mailing it, would still be enormous, as it would take a fraction of the time to scan an already filled out ballot over signing in, reading over the ballot, filling it out, and finally scanning it.

                But even mailing it feels much more secure to me than just dropping my ballot in a box that somebody has to take somewhere.  The USPS delivers my ballot to a secure location, as it should be.

                I just don't understand the absurdity of your opposition.  It isn't you, specifically, it is a standard paranoid response to vote by mail.  It seems visceral and uninformed.

                We're all just monkeys burning in hell. SmokeyMonkey.org

                by smokeymonkey on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:11:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Uh, it's a little thing about having (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SlackerInc, lotlizard

                  the opportunity for coercion on a massive scale, as a result of everyone having those ballots in their hands for so long. Much harder to coerce in the presence of election workers and the public, and much easier for the coercables to free themselves from their coercers when they go into the booth alone.

                  If you're not angry, you've already given up.

                  by peeder on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:13:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Have a straw (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mariva, smokeymonkey

                    since you're reaching...

                    Forget the username; it's the sig line that they'll remember you by.

                    by Blank Frank on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:15:57 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  nonsense not reaching (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lotlizard

                      have you learned NOTHING over the last six years as to the extent to which the Right Wing Machine will go to steal elections... to which the megachurches will go to further their corruption of the political process... to which the Republican party's so-called ground game (which to be honest isn't really about GOTV at all - that is a myth - it is about cheating the system) will go

                      If no-one around you understands start your own revolution and cut out the middle man...

                      by ResponsibleAccountable on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:28:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  He's not reaching at all (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      peeder, lotlizard

                      There's a good debate going on about this on the main page thread as well.  Until I read it, I had blithely gone along with the premise that this sort of voting was a great idea.  Now, just a few minutes later, I think it should be banned.

                      As others have noted, there is a risk of coercion as we had back before the secret (or "Australian") ballot, when party bosses and employers used bribes, or implied threats, to influence voting.  But as was described at the other thread but not so far in this one (though it's probably somewhere further down) is a more mundane but probably more insidious problem: "family voting".  We're talking about a conservative patriarch who sits down to fill out the ballots with his wife and any children who have attained majority.  With a true secret ballot, wife and kids can nod and smile when dad is blathering his right wing bullshit, but they can secretly vote Democratic.  

                      If this system became widespread, we'd lose a lot of those votes.  Not so much because of outright intimidation but because other members of the family are too embarrassed or timid to either openly vote a different way, or to insist on filling out their ballot privately.  They just don't want the hassle, and for most of them it wouldn't be important enough to stick their necks out for.  

                      We need to keep the secret ballot, and I agree with the person who said recountable optical scan ballots (which are used in my area) are the best solution for now.

                      -Alan

                      -9.00, -3.69 Bush, 12/12/05: "I think we are welcomed [in Iraq]. But it was not a peaceful welcome."

                      by SlackerInc on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:56:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Um... (5+ / 0-)

              It would have been done universally years ago if it was that much better!

              Yep, if an idea was any good, somebody woulda already had it. Let's close the patent office.

              Forget the username; it's the sig line that they'll remember you by.

              by Blank Frank on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:05:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Or I put a chip in your brain (4+ / 0-)

            and control your actions with this tiny box.

            I mean, come on! Nothing's foolproof. But VBM is pretty fucking fool-resistant compared to, say, Diebold paperless voting.

            Forget the username; it's the sig line that they'll remember you by.

            by Blank Frank on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:01:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, but (5+ / 0-)

            this actually is getting ridiculous.  You're not going to have large-scale coercion going on without it becoming a public issue that can be addressed.  You're not going to have large-scale bribery going on without being prosecuted. After all, how are you going to find people to bribe?

            If people can be coerced in church without leaving, they would vote the same thing in the paper ballot as well.  The people who vote in blocs are not reluctant; they're brainwashed.

            •  This is one of those decision theory paradoxes (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SlackerInc, lotlizard

              economists enjoy studying (E.g. Tversky and Kahnemann). Like wasting $100 is ok as long as you get $5 off when you do.

              So there may be in the current system some minimal, but observable quantity of fraud or supression. So let's replace it with a design that gets rid of the guarantee of secret ballot...one of the core principles of democratic systems!

              I'm the one laughing.

              If you're not angry, you've already given up.

              by peeder on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:09:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Usually I adore you peeder but... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peeder, Floja Roja

            Then you come up with a statement like this when our country's been run by Republicans for the last 6 years.

            It would have been done universally years ago if it was that much better!

            Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

            by CSI Bentonville on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 02:21:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fortunately Republicans aren't in control (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CSI Bentonville

              universally. =)

              If you're not angry, you've already given up.

              by peeder on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 02:24:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So I've been thinking about it (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                splashy, Floja Roja

                A lot of your concerns would be just as much as a problem with coerced absentee ballots. If a head of household is going to force his/her family to vote a specific way, s/he'll get them to apply for absentee ballots.

                I do believe a church would be in a hellava lot of trouble if it was having voting parties. Of course I think more churches should be on probation currently and they aren't because they have friends in the right places and that was without VBM.

                However, with a couple weeks to work with, a coerced voter can go in or call to complain at anytime. More, if the ballot doesn't show up for any reason there is time to find out days in advance and not on the way to work (Wal-Mart has 1.3 million employees it'd like to keep from voting -- I can work them in anywhere).

                One thing VBM can alleviate is fraud by intimidation. It's really hard to tell someone's race, economic situation, party affiliation, mode of transportation, etc and often even gender with VBM. It's impossible to call voters and tell them their precinct has been moved. Not much problem with mean, racist, misogynistic, ignorant, poorly trained, late, sick poll workers (one was arrested today for choking a voter!) or malfunctioning machines that may or may not count what is actually voted especially if the electricity fails or there's an accident on the way.

                No police cars sitting outside the polls (taking up parking spaces no less). Not thousands of polling places to be confused by. No flyers sent or placed on cars directing voters to vote in non-existant polls at the last minute. No electioneering outside the polls. No need to find rides for the rural, disabled, elderly, and infirm.

                Exit polling, just as effective by polling those who've voted.

                Somewhere I have a paper I did that goes through everything point by point but today's not the day to try and find it.

                Maybe later we can have this discussion in depth.

                But I agree with the idea by someone else that Chicago would really test the system. Yearly Kos will discover what it means to have a convention there (all I can say is tip early, tip often, tip big, and don't plug anything in yourself!). My neighbor had to go down to the bar a couple blocks away to get her mail if she wanted it as that's where her mail carrier spent his days. Hard to imagine him bringing or taking a ballot safely anywhere.

                As far as universal good ideas, ooh boy... try to even find a state that has a universal voting system. Didn't Cleveland as a city have several alone a couple years ago depending on where you lived? 14 hours in line? No thank you.

                Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                by CSI Bentonville on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 04:35:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  not ridiculous - highly likely (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SlackerInc, biscobosco, peeder, lotlizard

          PASTOR:  Next week I want you all to bring in your ballots

          next week

          PASTOR:  Now in race 1 the candidate Jesus wants you to vote for is Bob Smith (R)  -  that's it, in the spirit of Charity make sure your neighbour doesn't make a mistake... help them fill it out right - you wouldn't want them to burn in hell

          PASTOR:  Now in race 2 the candidate is Jim Jones (R)

          etc.

          oh... and you think saying no is possible against this peer pressure?

          If no-one around you understands start your own revolution and cut out the middle man...

          by ResponsibleAccountable on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:25:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  agree (5+ / 0-)

        I lived in Chicago in the closing days of the old Daley machine. They'd have had a vote-by-mail system gamed in minutes.

        The bribes and threats don't have to be overt. Just have a place where people can come in to get "help" with those confusing ballots. And you keep a list of who comes. Then you start a rumor that if you want to make sure your garbage gets picked up, you should come in for help.

        It only sounds paranoid if you've never seen it in action.

      •  And I totally disagree with you, Peeder (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bugsby, splashy, CSI Bentonville

        It is precisely the advantage of voting in private and at leisure that makes Vote by Mail such an attractive option.

        Don't we have historical stories of all the intimidation practice practiced at public polls on the last day one is eligible to vote - election day?

        With Vote by Mail, one at least has the option to contest a wrongful purge from the voter roles before the final day of election or correct, even, some discrepancy on your ballot that would rule it ineligible before it is too late.

        I'm tired of reading about so many voters being turned away on election day for some little discrepancy and votes not being counted for simple human error when filling out a ballot.

    •  and if you ask me that would be our death knell (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SlackerInc, biscobosco, peeder, lotlizard

      an absolute disaster

      look at the UK experience where a move to vote-by-mail moved a system with very little in the way of voting irregularities to large fraud problems

      where the more religious communities had large documented problems with heads-of-house taking it upon themselves to vote for their entire families

      don't you see the mega churches telling voters to bring in their ballots and helping you fill them in with your neighbour looking over your shoulder

      don't you know how many D voting women live with R voting men that don't know their voting habits and may not like them? (and vice versa but we know which way round domestic intimidateion typically happens in a country where 1 in 4 women experiences some sort of abuse in their life)

      giving up the fight for a safe secure private place to vote with fair properly counted voting, polls opened in convenient locations and at times and for durations that work for voters and just plumping for voting by mail is not the answer... it is conceding defeat

      and you HONESTLY think that Oregon is typical of how the country will go if we move to this nationwide... you think it will be the same in Georgia, S. Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas....?  

      You honestly think that the Republican machine wouldn't turn its attention to corrupting a system FAR more corruptable than a papervote in a ballot box for all to see?

      If no-one around you understands start your own revolution and cut out the middle man...

      by ResponsibleAccountable on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:22:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SlackerInc, JayBat

      I would prefer to see the lefty blogosphere to push for IRV more than VBM.

      I'm from Oregon and use VBM.

      Here in Oregon it work just fine. But I'm worried about its applicability accross the nation.

      My most pressing concern is fraud, specifically mail fraud.

      What's to stop a Republican mailman from "losing" a few ballots?

      What's to stop a Ken Melmhan from coordinating a campaign to "lose" a lot of ballots?

      IRV is much more important than VBM.

      And paper ballots work just fine on election day.

  •  talk about chain of custody (5+ / 0-)

    how ballots are secured before and after being counted,
    what audit requirements are.
    (whether there are any hand audit laws in or, etc)
    public and citizen viewing of count process.
    and how people who do not have a good mailing address (homeless) vote.

    these are my concerns about vote by mail.

    •  Responses (23+ / 0-)
      1. In terms of chain of custody - there are very clear rules about who can touch, store and acess the ballots.  Basically the secure location is only accesible by the County Elections chief or their deputy.
      1. You are allowed to observe the entire verification process of every ballot.  In close elections here in Oregon both sides do this.
      1. I will have to get back to you on audit procedures.  I know we have them but I don't want to give you bad info.
      •  Thanks for that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oofer, biscobosco, CSI Bentonville

        I know of several people who are official observers. If we hand deliver it to the polling place, we can watch our ballot be processed first-hand.

        It might be a little different in bigger cities, but it is a very open process here.

        One nation, under surveillance, no liberty, nor justice for us

        by SisTwo on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:31:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  hmm (0+ / 0-)

        what if you don't trust your elections officials :)

        13-Year California Election Official Facing 43 Criminal Charges!

        Now-Former Monterey County, CA Registrar of Voters, Tony 'Trust Me' Anchundo, Told Brad on Air that Voters Need to 'Have Trust and Faith' in Election Officials...

        He Now Faces Charges of Forgery, Misapplication of Funds, Embezzlement, Falsification of Accounts and Grand Theft to the Tune of $70,000...

        seriously. what exactly are the clear chain of custody rules? are there provisions for tamper-proof tape or similar storage of ballots storage of ballots?

        are there laws about under what conditions ballots can be handled (ie requirement, not option for a board, with presence of at least two different party-appointed observers or counters?)

        i am not opposed to vote by mail. but the problem with a protracted period for ballot storage is an increase in chain of custody vulnerability.

        "just trust" is not good enough. our local az election integrity groups oppose the vote by mail measure on ballot because the audit and count procedures and laws are not good enough. any piece of vote by mail legislation needs corresponding audit and ballot protection laws or language, which are enforced.
        see http://aceronline.org/...

        now i think the concerns could be addressed.. but this should be part of any vote-by mail law

        now it may be that oregon has this...

      •  aargh (0+ / 0-)

        I wrotea response to you but it showed up below

  •  Picker of Nits Supreme says: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacrelicious, horsewithnoname, SisTwo

    Additionally, if your ballot is being returned manually (as opposed to being mailed in), the voter needs to authorize the person returning the ballot.  This is also done on the back of the envelope.

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:04:49 AM PST

    •  This is not a requirement in Washington (0+ / 0-)

      In Washington, the polling places have drop boxes for mail ballots.  All you have to do is drop them in the slot.  No need for ID.  The signature is there for voter verification.

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:12:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In order to mail a ballot (or any piece of mail), (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    biscobosco, NYFM, SisTwo

    many people have to touch it.  The postal worker picking up the mail from your house, the postal worker bringing the mail from the post office to the elections office, and potentially several people in the middle, sorting and distributing and such.

    Are there concerns about security in the mail system?  I understand that tampering with a ballot that's being mailed constitutes not only election fraud but also mail fraud, but illegality hasn't stopped Republicans from trying to steal elections so far.

    Last time I voted (before voting absentee-by-mail this year), once I had my ballot in hand, I was the person that fed it directly to the scanning machine at the polling place.  Nobody else got to touch my ballot.

    The sad state of the country today has me seeing Red and feeling Blue.

    by DarthParadox on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:05:51 AM PST

    •  That is why many Oregonians use a ballot box (14+ / 0-)

      We have them all over. They are in libraries, city halls, senior centers, and many other nearby locations.

      Also, you can call for a pick-up if you are elderly or disabled.

      One nation, under surveillance, no liberty, nor justice for us

      by SisTwo on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:10:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just because you are paranoid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smokeymonkey

      does not mean that the touch will alter your ballot.  This is such a red herring.

      •  Read my comment more carefully (6+ / 0-)

        I asked if there were concerns about that.  I didn't say it was a huge security hole that meant vote-by-mail was an unusable system.

        I mailed in my ballot a couple weeks ago, and I have very little doubt that it got where it was going.

        But coming from the viewpoint of computer and information security, the more entities involved in a given transaction - be they people, computer agents, whatever - the more opportunities they are for just one of them to be subverted.  Which is why I ask a diarist who seems to have a much better working knowledge of the system than I.

        The sad state of the country today has me seeing Red and feeling Blue.

        by DarthParadox on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:05:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  USPS (5+ / 0-)

          The United States Postal Service is more secure than some dude with the ballot box in the back of his truck.  Just sayin'.

          We're all just monkeys burning in hell. SmokeyMonkey.org

          by smokeymonkey on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:52:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The tampering would not occur in the mail (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy, mariva, theberle, CSI Bentonville

          Intercepting mail and tampering with each vote by hand would be too labor intensive.

          The idea is not to make a perfect system. But to make one where cheating takes more effort than its worth.

          "Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism." - Mayor Rocky Anderson

          by geejay on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:05:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I asked a similar question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard

          re chain of custody... see above

          did not get a full answer yet.

          i come from a security background also.

          it is much easier to secure a ballot box for 14 hours than it is to secure ballots and ballot boxes for a month.

          this is the same issue as sleepovers of electronic machines. physical security. not impossible to address, but the state law must be written to address this lest unscrupulous SOS'es and officials set things up in a way that allows tampering.

          lets see.. night janitor pours a bottle of coke into a ballot box slot in a senior center - 500 ballots are muck in the am..

      •  just because something is likely not to happen (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        biscobosco, The Zipper, Bayern Munich

        doesn't mean you shouldn't recognize that it's a potential point of failure.

        There is no such thing as good security by obscurity in protecting data. Just because it's unlikely that the mailman (or anyone else who touches your ballot) will change your vote, doesn't mean you should write off the possibility. It's definitely an important thing to consider.

    •  In Washington your ballot has a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, CSI Bentonville

      receipt tag number on it that you tear off and keep.  If you are concerned about your ballot getting to the elections people, you can call and use that tag number to check it out.  Also there is a website where the parties can find out if you have returned your ballot.  That way they can call to remind you not to forget to mail it in.  I am not sure how it works exactly, but I know Dems know whose ballots are in and whose are not.

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:16:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like a very fair way of voting. (5+ / 0-)

    It allows for verification ahead of time if there are any possible irregularities, and everyone who has regisitered is given an ample opportunity to not only vote, but do a good amount of research on all candidates and ballot measures.

    We need to push for this all over the country.

  •  potentially good but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, CSI Bentonville, plumberwill

    Thanks for the info.
    My questions include
    what if the ballot is lost in either direction, to or from you?  is there confirmation they received your mailed in filled out ballot?  WIll it work for population dense areas like new york or california, how many holding places/opening/counting precincts per county or state?

  •  I can't emphasize enough (20+ / 0-)

    how great this system of voting has been for us here in Oregon.

    Besides being able to mail in your ballot, you have the option of dropping it off at other locations.  And we've yet to experience fraud with this sytem.  It IS helpful to a  have good, decent Secretary of State also.  

    It saddens me every election cycle when I read, hear and now, see the crap going on in other states.  We're a bit spoiled here in Oregon, I have to admit.  Great beer, good coffee, lots of trees and vote by mail.

  •  This is a really bad idea... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and I'm tempted to try to find the time today to diary why, but if you'd like a short version, read this.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:21:24 AM PST

    •  There is a lot of social interaction (4+ / 0-)

      at the ballot boxes. Especially by the ones in the senior centers.

      I know few people who actually mail in their ballots. Most of us prefer to hand deliver it to a ballot box. Those are always in public places like the library.

      The elderly or disabled can call for a secure pickup. That would add to the social interaction.

      I think we have a better system than the Swiss might have.

      One nation, under surveillance, no liberty, nor justice for us

      by SisTwo on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:27:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

        ...but there is abundant further data which reinforces the point, and in addition, I'm not sure that I agree with your statement.

        The Swiss have considerably higher voter turnout for all elections than in the US.  Moreover, it is a phenomenon that has been observed over a scientifically valid period of time.

        Statistically, about 23% of Americans fail to pay their bills on time even when they have ample funds to do so.  There is every reason to believe that this won't work, and that it will further disenfranchise the poor, and that it will make the statistically pointless exercise of voting even less valued to the American electorate.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:33:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  that's interesting... (10+ / 0-)

      except that it's not what happened here.  voter participation went up with the introduction of vote-by-mail in oregon.

    •  I disagree with the reasoning in the link (4+ / 0-)

      Yes, my vote by itself will almost certainly not be the deciding factor. However, if one doesn't take the self-centered approach of viewing one's actions in isolation then a rationale for voting can be argued.

      If I consider myself as part of a community of like-minded individuals who will, in aggregate, express our preferences at the polls then my participation makes sense as part of a larger whole. You could still object that  even at that level my participation is not critical. However, if enough folks of a similar mind take that approach then we risk having the preferences of others, which we would most likely object to, become validated as the will of the general public. Since I am  obligated to act, or not act, without much knowledge of how those who share my preferences will, then it makes sense for me to spend the time neessary to vote (it took me about 5 minutes this morning by the way).

      It's not something I would expect most economists, with their worm's eye view of the world, to understand

      •  Community action is not halterd by VBM (4+ / 0-)

        Actually, the sense and obligation of participation is enhanced by vote by mail, not decreased.  You have about 2.5 weeks to research and discuss the candidates (and propositions) before the ballots are due, and knowing that all citizens are treated equallly and fairly with a process that is not prone to breakdown, intimidation, and delays makes each person feel that they truly do have a stake in the outcome.

        "pay any price, bear any burden" (7801)

        by JimPortlandOR on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:33:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Funny thing about VBM (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CSI Bentonville

          It really changes how candidates spend their monies. Because the voters have their ballots in their hands nearly three weeks before the election, the candidates (and ballot measure players) must start spending much earlier to get to those 30-40% of voters who send in their ballots before the weekend before election day. But nearly 50% turn thier ballots in the last four days, so campaigns must continue to advertise heavily through election day. Good for local media, bad for candidates (and the public). A LOT of tit-for-tat.

          side note: I cannot BELIEVE how much money Karen Minnins has spent on television advertising. Where the hell does she get all the money? Is she siphoning it off from other Republican candidates?

          Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

          by BuckMulligan on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:17:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing to do with Oregon VBM (4+ / 0-)

    And that swiss experiment is comparing apples to oranges on top of that.

    It is important to note that VBM turns out people who are irregular voters but there is not sufficient evidence that shows it actually increases turnout among non-voters.

    But there are many other reasons to support VBM

  •  Do you have any statistics like: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, CSI Bentonville

    turnout since this began

    % of population that is registered?

    % of registered that votes?

    is registration process any different than in other states?

    are you hoping to register 100% of poulation?

  •  A good article on Oregon's VBM (7+ / 0-)

    here, for anyone who is interested.

    I've voted in lots of places and love the Oregon system, especially now that complicating the ballot with creepy GOTV measures has made voting such a task. I worked as a volunteer picking up ballots in the crazed rain yesterday and can tell you that trust, like it or not, is an element in every voting system.

  •  I live here in Silicon Valley and since... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, Thaxter, RainyDay, CSI Bentonville

    we went to computer elections (about 3 regular elections ago) the official sample ballot no longer matches the computer screen ballot resulting in much longer voting time.

    The old "punch card" ballots matched the mailed out ones and you could lay them side by side and vote fairly quickly.

    While I'm a computer geek and taught computer science in public schools for several years, I do not like (or trust) computerized voting even though our machines print a paper trail you can verify prior to the final casting of your vote.

    I think the best way to protest the present system is to always vote absentee until they are smart enough to go to mandatory VPM.

    Thanks for the info.

  •  Waaah (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BuckMulligan, CSI Bentonville

    You are ruining the odds of getting a national holiday on election day!

    JK - I'm trying to find reasons why this isn't a good idea, but so far...zip!

  •  I've been in Oregon for 7 years (12+ / 0-)

    moved here from California.  Voting in Oregon couldn't be any easier.  The drawbacks:

    1. Difficult if not impossible to intimidate voters at their polling place since there isn't one :),
    1. Difficult if not impossible to suppress voting due to long lines, broken/inoperable/confounding diebold voting machines, changing "precints/polling place on voters at last minute.

    Hmmmmm.....

  •  How Do We Make It Happen? State, Federal? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, CSI Bentonville

    Sign me up. Wind me up.  I am ready to make this happen.

    Do we need a Federal initiative or does it make more sense to go for states. I am willing to work on a Constitutional amendment in Florida.  Any other Floridians want to join me, just let me know.  

    I am tired of doubting our system and while I do not believe this will eliminate doubt, it will reduce it and it will dramatcially reduce Republican ability to suppress. That to me is crucial.

    •  Why not start (4+ / 0-)

      at your own county level? Look to Washington State as well as to Oregon for models. Most of Washington State's counties are entirely vote by mail, and eventually all of the state will move over to vote by mail. It's an incremental process, and the best place to begin is locally. Get involved in your county elections process and contact the Vote by Mail Project.

      •  All of our voting processes are controlled (0+ / 0-)

        by the state, so will likely have to do an amendment initiative, but will check and see if possible.

        Thanks for the advice.

      •  VBN in WA is slightly different than OR (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flo58

        at least in my county:

        • marking the ballot: use blue or black ink pen, not pencil
        • voted ballot return: in-person delivery, drop-off (24-hour secured drop available at the county assessor's office) or postmark no later than election day is acceptable

        Otherwise, I believe it works the same way as described above.

        •  oops, of course that s/b vb-EM- (0+ / 0-)

          vote by MAIL not vote by NAIL, heh

        •  Pen (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, it is black pen in Oregon, too. The diarist was wrong when he/she said "#2 Pencil" for the mail-in ballot (it could be pencil for ballots filled out at the elections office, but I don't know).

          In fact, there were many inaccuracies of details in the diary about the process as a whole. But I don't want to quibble.

          Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

          by BuckMulligan on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:30:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Different Oregon Areas are different (0+ / 0-)

          I'm in the Eugene/Springfield area and we don't use those little SAT-like scantron circles to fill in in pencil.  I'm glad because I think that they could be difficult for seniors.

          In my area of Oregon, we have big, black broken arrows that point towards each of the candidates.  To vote, one just fills in the rest of the arrow for the person that you are voting for the.  The arrow is over an eighth of an inch wide and needs to be filled in using black or blue ball point pen (no gel, markers and I think no pencils either).

          The arrows are so very easy to see and it's so easy to double check your ballot!

          Progressive Blogging in the defense of liberty is no vice.

          by Progressive Chick on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 02:04:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Vote by Mail needs to be the next netroots cause. (8+ / 0-)

    cheaper, easier, no intimidation, what's not to like?

    --CA-04: John Doolittle
    Since Denny Hastert has expired...

    by Do Tell on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:30:27 PM PST

    •  What's not to like? A lot. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      Chiefly, the loss of the secret ballot (either employers, churches, government officials, or just family patriarchs can "help" others fill out their ballots).

      -Alan

      -9.00, -3.69 Bush, 12/12/05: "I think we are welcomed [in Iraq]. But it was not a peaceful welcome."

      by SlackerInc on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 02:11:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't quite understand why so many Kossacks are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SlackerInc

        ... going head-in-the-sand on this very real objection to VBM. The secret ballot is essential to liberty and I'm not willing to see it compromised just like that.

      •  How is it not a secret ballot? (0+ / 0-)

        Why would a voter let employers, churches, government officials or family patriarchs fill out their ballots?

        I really don't understand your objection to this, and since it has worked out in Oregon for the past decade, I am comfortable with the process.

        Better than having people being disenfranchised by voting machines, poll workers and those who disallow entire blocks of voters like in Florida.

        --CA-04: John Doolittle
        Since Denny Hastert has expired...

        by Do Tell on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 04:59:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  can you register as unenrolled? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flo58

    or are you forced to register as a dem or repub?

    If you are forced to pick one (in order to get the correct ballot) then this is not the solution!

    We must be able to register as unenrolled or anaffilliated and pick a ballot at vote time, otherwise its just a party reinforcement tool.

    Be Careful what you ask for.

    take back the election process from the parties, register unenrolled.

    by ex99125b on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:31:10 PM PST

  •  WA is mostly vote by mail (6+ / 0-)

    Many of the counties have by mail only.  King County (which includes Seattle) still has regular polling places, but about 70% (I think) vote by mail anyway.

    One concern about Oregon VBM is that the ballot must be received by election day. It's nice for counting, but has some risk that mailing it 2 or 3 days before is not enough. In Washington it only has to be postmarked by election day.

    In any case, I completely agree that vote-by-mail is a good way to go.

    Thanks for the post.

  •  AZ Proposition on this today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bara, flo58

    Arizona has a proposition on the ballot today to go to vote-by-mail.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it will pass.  

    People always seem to be afraid of change.  I would love a system like Oregon here in Arizona.  It would be such an easy way to ensure that everyone gets their ballot, not waiting in lines, etc.

    Instead, what they got was a ridiculous ballot proposition that would put your name into a $1 million drawing for voting (I kid you not!).  Thankfully, that was not popular and will be defeated this evening.

    VOTE BY MAIL FOR EVERYONE!

    Not. One. Dime. to any Dem that supports Lieberman.

    by LeftofArizona on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:35:01 PM PST

  •  A huge drawback of this and all other voting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM

    systems is registration.  Big problem.  Must be fixed first.  Another problem is the elaborate voting that is required in various states.  Coordinating national ballot counts with local ballot counts requires special programming and makes national recounts more difficult.

    If you don't have an earth-shaking idea, get one, you'll love building a better world.

    by hestal on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:38:22 PM PST

  •  If you mail your ballot back... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CSI Bentonville

    is it in a prepaid envelope?

    Or, does the voter have to put on postage?

    How much is the postage?

    In Georgia, we've had a problem with absentee ballots that require 67 cents postage because the ballot is oversized.  In the July primary, apparently alot of ballots ended up in the dead letter file at the post office because of not having enough postage.

    BTW...I think voting by mail is going to be the best way of involving more voters in the future.  The netroots should get solidly behind it!!

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:38:46 PM PST

  •  Punchscan... (0+ / 0-)

    http://punchscan.org/

    This seems like a rough but promising idea because it allows you to verify that your vote was counted and how it was counted.

    I don't know what you would do if it wasn't.

  •  Voting in Oregon... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, flo58, CSI Bentonville

    ...is a wonderful experience. Imagine sitting at home, by the fire, a week before the election, reading the voter packet that describes various ballot initiatives and spells out all the candidate endorsements, making your careful decisions as an informed citizen. The next day you drop the envelope in the mail on your way to work and you've done your democratic duty. Can't we do this as a nation?

  •  It's like a tax return (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flo58, theberle, CSI Bentonville

    I know, i know, voting should be seen as a more positive and joyous thing than filing your taxes, but bear with me.

    We've been filing taxes by mail for over 60 years now and it works just fine. Sure, e-file is a new method, but few would reasonably say that filing by mail is flawed.

    Voting by mail works in much the same manner. You get your ballot a few weeks ahead, sit at the kitchen table figuring it out, check your work to make sure you're satisfied, then put it in the envelope and send it off. You can either mail it or drop it off at a ballot box.

    The system works. Some above point to studies of Oregon over the last 8 years and that's helpful. But the IRS has shown it works for over 60 years.

    That's gotta say something.

    Like "vote by mail, now, dammit!"

    No more e-voting.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:44:50 PM PST

  •  Ballots (3+ / 0-)

    I am totally for vote by mail after having done so this election.  Aside from using a pen to fill out my ballot, not a pencil (which seems really silly), what is described above is how it worked in Arizona.

    We're all just monkeys burning in hell. SmokeyMonkey.org

    by smokeymonkey on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:48:22 PM PST

  •  Flordia's experience with mail-in fraud (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/...

    The absentee ballot is the "tool of choice" for those who are engaging in election fraud.

    •  But that suggests... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      horsewithnoname, flo58, cherryXXX69

      ...deeper reforms that need to happen in Florida.

      If voting by mail itself led to fraud we'd have seen it in OR or WA. But it doesn't happen there, which suggests the problem is a Floridian culture of corruption, which will impact any form of voting.

      Mail ain't perfect, but it's far better than this e-voting crap.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:52:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there are ways to do voting properly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard
        • a machine can be used (in the privacy of a voting curtian) to produce a paper ballot
        • this executed ballot can then be read by the person to see their votes (and only their votes, to make sure it isn't confusing)
        • the ballot is then stuffed into a ballot box, where it is the physical legal record
        • an electronic, OCR and tabulator, can be used to run those ballots through to make tallies
        • if there is any disputes, pick a sunny day, dump the ballot box out and recount

        The problem with the "mail in" votes is that they are not done in a private, anonymous setting.   Hence, vote buying and intimidation is possible.   This is just a very bad idea, I can't stress it any more.

  •  Great summary, small correction (0+ / 0-)

    I believe that secrecy envelopes are sometimes opened before election day, but only so that the ballots can be unfolded and flattened out in preparation for scanning at 8pm. This may vary from county to county. The ballots are stacked, shrinkwrapped and secured with security tape to prevent tampering. This greatly speeds up the scanning process on election night as the folded ballots are some of the biggest causes of scanner jams.

  •  IN Clark Co. WA (0+ / 0-)

    Ballots are filled out with a black pen on a box on a piece of paper number roughly the size of legal paper.

    Otherwise it's the same.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:04:52 PM PST

  •  Voting By Mail Creates Other Problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zigeunerweisen
    1. Getting the ballot in the mail.  (I've had problems with this).
    1. Making sure your filled-out ballot gets delivered.  (What do you do if it doesn't?)
    1. If you make a mistake and, say, forget to sign your security envelope, then your vote won't be counted and you can't do anything about it.
    1. What if you DO sign the security envelope, but the signature doesn't look enough like the one on file (in the opinion of the clerks)?  What do you do then?
    •  Answers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville
      1.  If you don't get your ballot you call and get another one
      1. Drop it off at the many drop point or the county elections office if you don't want to mail.

      3.If you don't sign the outside envelope (secrecy envelope is anoymous) they call you or contact you via mail.

      1. They call you and ask you to verify your signature.
    •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville
      1. News blitz when they're mailed out; you can always go down to the Elections office in the three weeks prior and pick up a new one.
      1. There's a # to call, and they'll verify its been recieved.
      1. That's your own damn fault.
      1. If there's a problem, the election workers contact the voter and Work It Out™.
    •  I think 3 & 4 are non-issues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville

      From what I've read above, your concerns about #3 & 4 are pretty much non issues. FinneganOregon didn't address unsigned ballots, but at least in the case of signatures not matching, the elections office calls you and asks you to come down and verify the ballot in person.

      So, if your signature is pretty bad, you have to make a special trip, but it still addresses the problem without tossing the ballot out entirely. I don't know if unsigned ballots are handled that way, but they easily could be.

      With #1, it is sent out early enough that if you do not get it, you have 3 weeks to get a replacement.

      And #2, if I were in Oregon, I would have as much faith in dropping it off in a "ballot box" at a library or whatnot as I would putting my ballot in a box at the polling office. I'll admit I'm dodgy about trusting the Postal Service, but I'll even admit that's pretty unlikely that it would get lost in the mail. With something as large scale as this, the Post Office can adjust accordingly to make sure nothing is lost (I know the Post Offices around here gear up every April 15th).

  •  My god! Why isn't this national? -nt- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CSI Bentonville
  •  Return receipt? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zigeunerweisen

    I'd be concerned about getting a return receipt to verify my mailing actually made it to the elections office.

    Additionally, what's to stop corrupt elections officials simply swapping your mailed in ballot with a different one before scanning it into the machine?

    I suppose this is nit-picky, but given the issues we're seeing generally I want a system that is transparent, verifiable, rock solid, and fair.

    My other concern is that voters run the risk of voting early then finding out something that changes their mind.  It'd be nice to have a method for securely and verifiably rescinding/changing a vote.

    "nothing" the unjust man complained "is just" / ("or un-" the just rejoined) -ee cummings

    by figurefive on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:11:53 PM PST

    •  Voting early is not required (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville

      The nice thing is that if you don't want to you don't HAVE to vote early.  I have a friend who fills out her ballot right away when she gets it, but does not mail it until election day (which is allowed in Wn State)

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:37:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You missed something in the ballet envelope (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theberle, CSI Bentonville

    I received a voter's guide in my ballet envelope as well, that included voting instructions and all the locations/deadlines for all the drop boxes in the county. The voter's guide breaks down the results of yes or no votes on all state, county and city measures. This is for Klamath County, I'm not sure if other counties do this.

  •  Are you talking about... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CSI Bentonville

    The voters pamphlet or the two page voters guide with the envelope?  You are right - I missed that.

  •  problems with this approach (0+ / 0-)
    I have some serious issues with this post.

    #1). No where is there a mention of a random audit to be performed against the machine count.  Observing is not enough, since the machine is counting (unless every single ballot is checked by hand, which I don't believe would be the case).

    As with paper ballot scanning, the only way to detect fraud is mandatory random hand counts against the machine.

    #2). Vote moving
    The major disadvantage of this approach is the moving of physical votes.  Any time votes are move it is possible to destroy them.  
    The main advantage of the paper ballot approach is that the votes are counted where they are placed.  There is never a need to move the ballots, only phone in the results per district.

    I have to say, these two issues, along with the potential for vote buying that exists, makes me think this is not as good of an option for us to push for as paper ballots.

    I would advocate, paper ballots that are machine scanned with mandatory audits or fully hand counted.  Absentee mail ins could be used as a supplement as they are now, but I don't see this as a full scale solution in places like Ohio and Florida where they figures of authority cannot be trusted anymore.
     

    •  Answers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flo58, CSI Bentonville
      1. They do a random audit but as I said above I have questions into the SOS about the exact procedures.

      2)This approach allows for alot more security because alot fewer people handle the actual ballot once it is opened up from the secrecy envelope.  Fewer opportunities for tampering.

      1. Vote buying?  That has never been a problem.
    •  Vote buying? (0+ / 0-)

      How would that work, actually?

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:39:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's How (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SlackerInc

        You go down to the red light district and register all the denizens of the residential motels.  When they get their ballots, you go and offer them $100 to let you fill out their ballots.  Once you've done that, you have them sign the envelope in the prescribed place and march on down to the mailbox/ballot box, drop it in, and hand them the money. Easy.

        Now, I doubt this could be done on a large enough scale to really cause a problem, but it can be done and should be thought about.

  •  DUH???? (0+ / 0-)

    I voted by mail in NY. Anyone can do it now. Easiest thing in the world. I called to get an absentee ballot request form, got the form, filled it out. A ballot came three days later. Filled it out, mailed it, no problems.

  •  No help. (0+ / 0-)

    I've never voted by mail or absentee. I don't trust the system THAT much. I don't trust Diebold either but not being one empowered to change it I am forced to vote on the damned things. I'm very good to excellent with computers but I don't like the idea of a computer being used to determine who represents me. Gimmee a punch card or the old one-armed machine.

    Vote by mail? Nada. No thanks.

    Canton, Home of DIEbold, BLUEOhio

    I propose to Republicans that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. Adlai Stevenson

    by glbTVET on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:53:46 PM PST

  •  here's how it works Chicago style (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SlackerInc

    The precinct captain tells you when he's going to be there. He collects the ballots for your household. He votes the key races. Then he has the voters sign in the appropriate places. And finally he mails the ballots.

    If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

    by Carl Nyberg on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 02:03:59 PM PST

  •  hawaii senator interested - downsides? (0+ / 0-)

    I sent kos' earlier post to my state senator here in hawaii (who is also a personal friend) and he is certainly interested in supporting more of a move to VBM.

    We already have an increasing number of votes going in by absentee anyway (I believe close to 40% in the primary), so this would be a natural transition.

    but he asked me, what are the downsides?

    I see the diary by ResponsibleAccountable re the possible intimidation within a household, and I'm wondering if others can help to realistically assess the pros and cons that should be considered.

  •  just got back from collecting in Portland (0+ / 0-)

    I was standing out near the county elections building in Portland this afternoon, collecting ballots from drivers and passersby. The lines started getting a little long and backed up traffic, so we sent "unofficial" ballot collectors down the line to smooth things out. It's legal, but obviously the person has to trust you. Many people do, but I think it's easier since we're the Democrats and the town is over 70% registered Dem. Why would we dump R ballots, right?

    I think VBM kicks ass. For one thing, as people turn in you can mark them off and stop calling them, focusing your energy just on those people who haven't. I was in Clackamas County this morning, and they had things so well in hand I left after a while to pump up turnout in Multnomah.

    From all indications, things in Oregon will be VERY good for the Democrats tonight! Woooooooot!

    We'll be trying to keep up with returns at
    Loaded Orgyun, so stop by and have some cheer!

  •  Forced Mail Voting (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry I missed this thread.

    Forced mail voting is a horrible idea. The exact opposite of a secret ballot and a public vote count.

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