Most city clerks just love the all-mail ballot system because it makes their jobs much easier. But you shouldn’t


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.



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6 responses to “Most city clerks just love the all-mail ballot system because it makes their jobs much easier. But you shouldn’t

  1. Anonymous

    Whack job paranoia.

    • semichorus

      Nope. Mail ballots are inherently problematical.

      Btw, why were those Burbank mail ballots sent out so early?

      I also love the rank hypocrisy. “Mail ballots are incredible! They’re the way to go!

      “Oh, except for the Airport vote…”

      • Darko

        Exactly Semichorus just why was it that they spent extra money to avoid the all mail ballots for that Measure B election. Conspiracy theory ? Nah I would say the conspiracy theories are on the part of Frutos, Rogers, Talamantez and Luddies. They are the ones who wanted a greater voter turnout so guess what ? They avoided an all mail election to get it. Funny how these simpletons really think we are so stupid.

        • semichorus

          The hypocrisy there was a sight to see. The boosters were clearly trying to manipulate the votes and the turnout on that one.

          “Burbank’s all-mail ballot is so wonderful! The nation is looking to us! We’re gonna do it all the time now!”

          Yeah, right. If they’d thought a special mail ballot would have offered the same desired result on that one, a mail ballot it would have been.

          The first ever all-mail ballot was for the ROAR election in 2000, btw. The booster establishment thought it would water down the Airport crazies and get more “regular” voters in there. But it backfired! No more mail ballots for a while of course.

  2. chad

    This system also undermines anonymity.

    • semichorus

      Yup. Potential for much hanky panky.

      Your name is basically on the ballot. The ballots aren’t guarded. They can sit around for weeks. A private company does much if not all of the collecting/tabulating.

      The voting is not done in secret, and so no one knows who really voted. Who coaxed grandma and the kids to vote for X, Y, or Z? Who lobbied grandma and the kids when they were signing the thing?

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