We’ve been saying for years that Burbank’s shift to an all-mail ballot system was and is not a good thing.
Considering also that most recent historical cases of ballot fraud in this country have involved the processing of absentee ballots — which are the same basic thing as all-mail, only much less of a problem — this list of concerns from a national “No Mail Ballot” group is definitely worth a look.
They’re right, too. There’s nothing conspiratorial about any of these concerns either. In most cases they’re based upon historical incident.
Absentee ballots are not “secret ballots.”
Absentee ballots are still counted by the same privately owned voting machines that have been in the news, including Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and all the rest.
In many cases, like King County, WA, the Post Office no longer controls the incoming mail, instead a private company sorts incoming absentee ballots into precincts before giving them back to county for counting. This breaks down any chain of custody rules that may have been in place, and privatizes another link in the chain.
From beginning to end, the whole system of Absentee Ballots is insecure, as ballots are no longer strictly controlled by the County and citizen poll workers in the individual Precincts.
The cost of running an all mail voting system can actually be greater than a poll based voting system.
The Signature Verification Process is error prone and routinely disenfranchises thousands of voters when it is used.
Ballots rejected for having invalid signatures are treated as “Guilty before proven innocent.”
Voter Suppression, Vote Buying, Vote Stuffing become far easier in this system.
Accidental double voting can and does happen.
Some studies show a short term spike, but long term decline in voter participation, in 100% absentee systems. Claims that Vote-By Mail will increase turnout have no real evidence supporting this assertion.
The post office loses mail or just misplaces it for years, the county loses ballots, and people lose their own ballots.
The Absentee System greatly alters the Precinct System.
Vote-By Mail systems vastly increase the time it takes to count elections.
Vote-By Mail systems eliminate “Election Day” and replace it with “Election Month,” thereby greatly increasing the costs campaigns must spend on GOTV (Get-Out the Vote) efforts.
Many, many people have gone to jail already for rigging elections using absentees, throughout the country and around the world. This is occurring in the here and now, not some distant past. These are not “isolated incidents.”
Vote-By Mail systems alter the time-table of the election cycle. The change to Vote-By Mail means many voters will vote before all the information has been presented by candidates, civic institutions are forced then to either adjust their calendars, or as is currently the case, they don’t change their forum dates, rather fewer voters have a chance to see candidates in person at these forums.
We’ll add one thing: voting in person on election day is a communal event. It’s 100 percent American.
Our biggest concern about all-mail ballots is the first one, actually. They are truly not secret ballots. You don’t know who’s really doing the voting; you don’t know who’s located near or around the voter when they are voting; and you have to tie each ballot to a physically connected name and signature as it goes through the counting and collection process.
Talk about a potential for abuse, and at each level.
So let’s bring the secret ballot back to Burbank politics. And let’s also at the same time stop using private companies to help run our local elections. Right now they print, mail, process, sort, and count all of our all-mail ballots (bet most local voters didn’t know that).
No wonder the city clerk loves the status quo. It was a real pisser for her too this time to have to count all of those stragglers on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Too bad.
Btw … anyone else remember how a prior city clerk “accidentally” sent out Burbank’s all-mail ballots almost a month before the earliest formal date of mailing? By shortening the campaign season, this “mistake” was a deliberate effort to help the incumbents out in a notoriously hard fought election, most of whom had longtime name recognition.
Those kind of mistakes don’t just happen.