Mail/Absentee Voting

Just a step in the right direction: Merrill meets with Homeland Security

“Yesterday, along with representatives from the state’s information technology and public safety departments, I met with regional officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security to discuss how we can work together to ensure that Connecticut elections are safe from outside interference or manipulation. We had a productive meeting and I look forward to working together in the months and years to come to protect our elections, the bedrock of our democracy.” – Denise Merrill, Connecticut Secretary of the State

We applaud this step in the right direction.  Last year as leader of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Merrill opposed the designation of elections as critical infrastructure, leading in expressing the concern for a Federal take-over of elections. We were critical of that stand then and remain so.

In our opinion this is just a step. There are several aspects to election security/integrity that should be addressed,. This  step may assist in those that are under direct control of the of the the State, yet less so those under local control.

Testimony on Early Voting and Registrar’s Bills

Yesterday, we submitted testimony on a number of early voting bills and a bill likely submitted by the Registrars of Voters Association.

The primary reason to avoid expanded mail-in or no-excuse absentee voting is the opportunity for and documented record of absentee voting fraud. There are other reasons:

  • Contrary to a touted benefit – early voting DECREASES turnout…

And a bill likely submitted by the Registrars of Voters Association.

As an election official, I am sympathetic to the wish of Registrars to make their jobs simpler.  Yet, my sympathy ends when it results in barriers to participation in democracy for candidates and citizens.

Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT (Annotated)

Courant Editorial, Sunday November 20th: Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT

We have long had concerns with extending mail-in voting, aka no excuse absentee voting.  We also support in-person early voting, if we are willing to pay for it.  We have a new Courant Editorial joining Denise Merrill in a renewed push for early voting, defeated two years ago by the voters of Connecticut, consistent with our warnings but not our prediction.

Connecticut is one of only a handful of states that does not allow in-person voting before Election Day and requires those casting absentee ballots to provide an excuse — two unnecessary and antiquated barriers to participation in the political process. [Unnecessary only for those who lack concern for election integrity, turnout, and costs]

Is our election hackable or not?

We hear from Richard Clarke, President Obama, Pam Smith, and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.  We annotate Denise Merrill’s recent press conference.

Brennan Center: Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda

Whenever we open a report with multiple recommendations we start from a skeptical point of view. We expect to agree with some proposals and disagree with others.  A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice is the exception.  We agree with every recommendation:
Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda

It starts with the right criteria, it has a great agenda, strong supporting arguments, and ends with an appropriate call to action

Does All Mail Voting Increase Turnout?

In the long run, apparently Not or Not Much.

Article from the Washington Post, from researcher Elizabeth Bergman: Voting only by mail can decrease turnout. Or increase it. Wait, what?

My research found that when you can only vote by mail, voter turnout actually drops by about 13 percent. I examined what happens to turnout if voting by mail is compulsory. I studied more than 90,000 voters who could vote only by mail across four elections from 2006 through 2008 in five of the most populous urban counties in California. (In that state, if a precinct has fewer than 250 voters, elections officials are allowed to forego a polling place and accept ballots only by mail.)

That decline may seem counterintuitive. Presumably voting by mail is easier and more convenient than going to the polls. So why doesn’t turnout go up?

Voter or Voting Fraud? via AB, immune to Voter Id

Many believe that stronger Voter Id would prevent voter fraud. Actually who would risk going to the polls with the risk of strong penalties if they are caught when there is an easier alternative, absentee voting?  This case from Wisconsin shows how easy can be, yet also that sometimes you can get caught. In this case only because there were two votes from one person.

A Shorewood man has been charged with more than a dozen counts of illegal voting, accused of casting multiple ballots in four elections in 2011 and 2012, including five in the 2012 gubernatorial recall.

It’s a Conspiracy Theory, until it is not a Theory – Voting Party Edition

Now from Seattle, this video of a “Ballot Box” with a “tamper resistant contraption“, in the hands of practically anyone: King County acknowledges using cardboard boxes to collect ballots

If you have voted Absentee, for the election tomorrow, we ask “Do you know where your ballot is, and where it has been?

Marks questions marks: Colorado democracy black and blue

“Where their is smoke there is fire”.  We say, “Where there is black and blue there is a victim” and “When it quacks like a cover up, suspicion is justified”.  In this case we have ballots filled-in in black and blue with cross-outs. We suspect Colorado democracy is the victim.

Once again, a blow to those who claim there  is no voting fraud.  A further justification of counting votes by scanner in public in polling places, limiting mail-in voting, and  limiting central scanning, while  arguing for requiring adversarial election officials in every operation.

Not everything you want, is a solution to every problem

In Wednesday’s print edition of the Courant, one in a series of editorials setting an agenda for the State, Agenda Toward A More Open Government. There is much to like and agree with in the editorial: Stronger investigative subpoena for state prosecutors; closing the cash spigot for campaign finance; and strengthening the watchdog agencies.

While we are skeptical of the benefits of open primaries, their potential, and ultimately the value of “more moderate nominees”, we are particularly in disagreement with one section, Do-Over for Early Voting.

Its been said that when you only have a hammer, you see that as a cure to every problem.

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