Thursday, May 15, 2008

One Person. One Vote.

One of my favorite things to do. Or it used to be.

There was a time when those of us in Oregon would gather at the polling place and fill out our ballots and tuck them in the big box using the secrecy sleeve. I felt a part of a community. I felt equal. I felt valuable.

Now we vote by mail.

It just doesn’t feel the same.

There are some good arguments for vote by mail; Higher participation. Time to review the pamphlets and guides. No interruption to your workday. No lines.

But there are some drawbacks too.

1) Ballots could get lost.
2) A chance for fraud of a different kind.
3) Some major scuttlebutt could come out about a candidate in the last few days after you already voted. (Remember Packwood? His story was buried until right after the election…a few days different…who knows.)

And this year there’s something of greater concern to me. The recent postage increase.

Now our valuable media is telling us that the US Postal Service will let all ballots reach their destination with improper postage. Really? Even an absentee ballot for college students in New York? You think the New York postal workers got the memo?

I may be wearing my tinfoil hat when I type this, but I am very skeptical that we won’t see a decent percentage of ballots returned. Unopened. Uncounted.

So, take no chances. Drop it off. At least then the only fraud to be concerned with is the old fashioned kind.



Rachel said...

Many of my professors are offering extra credit on midterms this week if you show your voter's registration card (or whatever they're called), which I think is a great incentive. I volunteered on campus this spring to help register and re-register voters for Oregon, and we got over 7,000 students! It probably helps that we have a ballot drop-place in the center of campus too, seeing as most of us are cheap and might not fork over the 42 cents to mail the thing in.

Anonymous said...

I submit my ballot every election on Election Day by driving past the county building on SE Madison and handing it to a volunteer in an orange vest. I feel entirely safe and I've waited as long as any fool standing in a line in, oh, West Palm Beach. I think vote-by-mail entirely protects my franchise and, indeed, expands it. And if you want to here a stronger defense of it, ask our mutual pal Finnegan.

-- Dr. Bickle

Anonymous said...

That would be 'hear,' of course, not 'here'...damn dictaphone....

-- bix

Kari said...

I think the increased participation that vote-by-mail gives is reason enough to support it, but there are a ton of other reasons too. It has no higher rate of voter fraud than traditional voting. And, if you want to make sure you have alllll of the information that may come out in the days before an election, like Bix mentioned, you're certainly free to drop it off on election day at one of the many dropoff locations.
Anyhoooo, if there are two things I would do to change the national election system they would be 1) vote by mail for everyone and 2)a national primary day.
*deep breath*
*off soapbox*

I'm just glad you voted! *sticks you with 'I Voted' sticker.

See you soon!

Devlyn said...

I miss my "I Voted!" sticker, but that's it. The last election I voted in in another state, I was turned away because of a misunderstanding (propagated by a pollster). It was only because I stayed there and fought for my right to vote that the truth became clear and I was allowed to vote. I was tickled pink when I learned that OR voted by mail. It's incredibly easy and I feel actually more comfortable with it than the misaligned punched-chad ballots I used to use.

Lucas said...

I also miss the excitement of having an "election day" but in every other way I prefer the vote by mail we have here in Oregon.