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Is anyone buying this BS? WTF's up with this stinging BradBlog attack on Vote-by-Mail anyway?

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99th_Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 02:57 AM
Original message
Is anyone buying this BS? WTF's up with this stinging BradBlog attack on Vote-by-Mail anyway?
The reasons I ask this, are:
1) That I freaking LIVE in OREGON, and think vote-by-mail (VBM) seriously rocks.
2) This article is featured at BradBlog.com which I've always appreciated and trusted.
3) This article flies in the face of my lying eyes, since every Oregonian I know loves
and trusts Oregon's VBM record of reflecting the actual will of the voters.

Why the hell do you think Greg Palast just told Mike Malloy on AA TODAY that "Oregon is
one of the few election-fraud-free states in the Union"?


I'm trying hard to stay open-minded about this, but damn ... this concerns me. I feel so grateful for
Oregon's VBM balloting system and feel this article blithely ignores or dismisses the many advantages of
Vote-by-Mail ... and these are just off the top of my head:

1) VBM is the most convenient voting for elderly, disabled and shut-in voters.
2) With VBM, there's absolutely NO opportunity for ReThugs to intimidate or threaten vulnerable minorities
at the polls on Nov. 4th; except in the highly unlikely "nightmare" scenario apparently conjured
by the author out of thin air, since no evidence whatsoever is provided to substantiate that this scenario
has ever even occurred in real life.
3) Oregon VBM's solid record of reflecting the will of the voters on election day, as evidenced by the
near-universal popularity of vote-by-mail among Oregonians.
4) No mention in the article that ANY time there's ANY good reason to recount ballots by hand, that can
and will be done in Oregon. ... We have PAPER BALLOTS .. what a concept.
5) VBM totally circumvents ANY thuggery to jam up the works (Oops! not enough machines, over-aggressive voter
challenges, etc.) at crowded polling locations on Nov. 4th, which (as we saw in OH in '04, and as we'll see
tomorrow) directly to 4-6 hour lines in precincts
known to be Democratic (as is happening now as we speak in many states).
6) EVERY VBM voter has an opportunity to study the candidates and ballot measures in the privacy of their
homes (when they find time between their 2-3 jobs) without worrying about long lines, getting off work, getting
a baby-sitter, being subjected to intimidation, etc.

Somebody help me out here. This article flies directly in the face of the lying eyes of this very progressive
65 y.o. disabled vet who's lived in Oregon since 1946. WTF's going on here anyway? This is nutso.

********************************************************************
Why Mail Ballots Are A Bad Idea by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D
http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-77.htm
You can have an honest election, or you can have a mail in/absentee ballot election, but you can't have both at the same time.

By November 2006 the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) (aka Leave No Voting Company Behind) tidal wave had washed almost completely across America destroying election integrity and trust in its wake, and brought to us by the same "leaders" who brought us war in Iraq; a war on drugs; the wholesale destruction of children, families, and marriage; torture; gulags; reinstituted indentured servitude and debtors prisons; and incurred a national debt of nearly $9 trillion dollars that is increasing by $1.7 billion a day.

One need not read far into the tabulation of problems by VotersUnite, or here, to realize electronic voting has been a massive failure. The innumerable problems, in many cases initiated by requirements of HAVA, has led to often extreme distrust of voting machines in polling places. Nowhere is this more apparent than in November 2006 election in Riverside County, California, one of the first counties to switch to electronic voting.

In many cases, dysfunctional voting machines and incompetent or dishonest election officials have led to outrageous waits for voters at polling places, e.g., in several Colorado counties in November 2006 the last voters were not able to cast a ballot until 1:30 AM the next morning at voting centers . In some cases, notably Ohio, election officials apparently deliberately put too few electronic voting machines in minority or Democratic neighborhoods, forcing many potential voters to turn away rather than wait in line for many hours to vote. And, if citizens are able to vote at a precinct, the innumerable problems with electronic voting machines documented here and on many other web sites leaves voters justifiably uncertain if their vote was counted and, if counted, counted correctly?

In order to avoid the lines at polling places, and with well-founded mistrust in touchscreen (DRE) voting machines, an ever-increasing number of voters have taken to using absentee ballots in the correct belief that a hand-marked paper ballot is more durable and accurate than an ephemeral entry on a computer screen.

But absentee mail ballots are still counted by electronic voting machines, only now it is done in the proverbial "back room" largely out of public view, which suits embattled election officials and voting machine manufacturers just fine.

While election officials are being pummeled by public distrust of electronic voting, they are, as in the past, going in the wrong direction. Despite an unbroken record over the past decade of making elections worse, the apparent stampede of these simpletons is to propose all-mail ballot elections, as has been done in Oregon. The Oregon experiment is reviewed, and not favorably, by Prof. Melody Rose and Thomas Hargrove. But far be it from our apparently retarded election officials to be deterred by failures elsewhere. Besides, the increased use of absentee ballots makes it appear to them that it is "the will of the people" to have mail ballot elections.
Unfortunately the proposed cure, mail balloting, is worse than the disease of electronic voting.

And we certainly wouldn't want to return to the old-fashioned method of hand marking and hand counting paper ballots at our local precinct that worked so well for so many years. That would make the waste of public money and distrust in electronic voting machines too painfully obvious.

What are the problems with mail ballots?

In early 2006 I was asked by a local election official to tabulate the problems I'd seen with mail ballot elections and absentee balloting. Obviously, conscientious election officials do their best to minimize these problems. However, the "less conscientious" do their best to simply hide "mistakes" and all too often we've encountered, and document in this chapter, incompetent or corrupt election officials who ignore or are ignorant of the problems listed here.

It is also impossible for election officials to defend against and prevent all the problems listed here in a given election using mail ballots. Thus, while the limited use of absentee ballots may be necessary, their usage should be strictly controlled and the closest possible scrutiny applied to all ballots sent and received by mail.

As noted in this chapter, all-mail ballot elections have been widely touted, but have not been as successful as politicians would like us to believe. In no case should all-mail elections be used, especially in special district elections involving developers, or other elections where large dollar or tax issues are at stake.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 02:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm with Brad on this. n/t
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99th_Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 03:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Have you ever asked an Oregonian about this?
Why exactly are you "with Brad on this"?

The silence is deafening to this progressive Oregonian who loves his voting system
with a passion, just like it is...
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billyoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 03:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. Just another schism among professional victims.
Nothing to worry about, unless you get involved with them.
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Tiggeroshii Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 03:10 AM
Response to Original message
3. Vote by mail is reputed as probably the most democratic method for voting in the country
Not only is it nearly fraud proof, but since you guys have had the system, voter turnout nearly quadrupled in the fowlling elections. I will always believe vote by mail is the best way to do things, and we should be fighting to get it in place. Obviously there are flaws, but these flaws aren't close to as costly as machine counting,etc. as the author of the bottom article suggests.

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99th_Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 03:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's it!! Voter turn-out!! I knew there was another good reason for VBM.
BTW - Today, a voter can actually phone Elections and get a REAL person on the line to answer questions.

I know because I HAD a question today I needed answering about my ballot, and got right through to an
elections official, who gave me a clear answer to my question.

This VBM system in Oregon works beautifully. The reason for my post is I was shocked by this attack-ad,
since I've never heard of ANYone having a serious problem with VBM. until seeing this article.

Why do you think BradBlog is saying this shit this anyway?
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Tiggeroshii Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 05:19 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. I think they are saying this because there are some genuine concerns about the transparency of
vote by mail. But let's get real: Everything he criticized there is pertinent even for ballots turned in on election day. Most of them are tabulated anyways through electronic tabulators. I think there's a lot that should be changed about how we count votes in general(like maybe being more thorough about the things the count the votes, but if you really think about the pros of vote by mail(security, voter turnout, etc) they definitely outweigh the cons -which could be solved while still having an efficient vote by mail system(like Oregon, and soon to be Washington).
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99th_Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Thanks. Point taken, as to how most "problems" listed apply to all elections.
I guess the article seemed overly ham-fisted in it's treatment of VBM, and I was surprised to see it on BradBlog.

I'm looking forward to cleaning up our elections nationally, under an Obama administration. I suspect we'll have
many more of these discussions in the months to come.

peace out.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 06:18 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. How do you know that your ballot was received?
What is the protocol for dealing with signature mismatches?
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juno jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 04:11 AM
Response to Original message
6. I voted 'by mail' for the first time this year in WA
We sat down after dinner one night as a family and went thru all the literature, newspaper endorsements and even did some websurfing. The result was probably the most informed ballot I had ever cast in my life. I didn't mail mine, but dropped it (and the fam's) by the courthouse the next morning.

What I'm excited about, is that recieving those ballots whenever we have an election is gonna make it more likely that I research and vote in minor elections. The school board position or water referendum, minor things that bottom-up democracy is built on.

Yeah, I like it and I'll probably be voting more because of it.

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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 06:19 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. Did you go to the elections department website to see if your ballot got there?
If not, how do you know that it did?
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 07:31 AM
Response to Original message
8. I got no problem with this:
"...their usage should be strictly controlled and the closest possible scrutiny applied to all ballots sent and received by mail."

Any system relying on machine counts is suspect. And any ballot that leaves the room needs closer scrutiny. But VBM is a good idea, imo.
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99th_Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yes, I'd prefer all ballots be hand counted under strictly controlled non-partisan supervision.
Screw all the machines.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
11. Vote by Mail is just a form of Optical Scan
n/t
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Einsteinia Donating Member (645 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
12. OR works ONLY because
its under an administrator who is honest.

In a nutshell, vbm is back room voting county reliant on compliance on a stack regulations that are unobservable by the citizen and therefore unenforceable.

Even if you had armored trucks and 24 hour surveillance, you cannot match the accuracy to affirm that the ballots tabulated are the same ones that were cast with 99% unless you forfeit privacy of the ballot. Because the transportion and custody leaves too many vectors or exploitation.

Oregon is the best and yet is it not as good as good old fashioned neighborhood precinct voting where neighbors can affirm that each ballot is private and yet tethered to a real person--not a cyber profile--when they watch the ballot box all day and then tabulate it.

A decentralized neighborhood, bottoms-up paradigm is also a stop loss on how many ballots can be commandeered.

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Einsteinia Donating Member (645 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-04-08 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. PS Even there, it has NEVER been audited
So where's the scientific verifiable proof that it works there? Democrats think it works because fairly left people get elected there, but I'm 100% certain they wouldn't like it if they had a Kenneth Blackwell or Katherine Harris at the helm. Too much room for back room shenanigans--even with ALL the fancy procedures set in place in Oregon that admittedly makes it the best vbm system in the U.S. Still, not saying much because a bona fide democracy needs BOTH accuracy and turnout.
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demodonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-05-08 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
14. DO NOT TRUST VOTE BY MAIL...
Edited on Wed Nov-05-08 05:50 AM by demodonkey

...especially in states like PA where party-machine 'bosses' still run things in far too many areas.

I heard one horror story after another yesterday of 'lost' registrations that were mailed in (such as only one one out of three family members that mailed their registrations in the SAME envelope actually getting registered), 'lost' absentee applications that were mailed and disappeared, and 'lost' absentee ballots cast and mailed but somehow never made back to the county to be counted. All these things costing many people their vote.

Vote By Mail may -- MAY -- work in Oregon (if it does it is thanks to OR Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who is an honest and decent man but is leaving office) but it would be a total nightmare in a lot of other places.

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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 06:17 AM
Response to Original message
15. I understand that mandatory auditing was imposed in 2007. Further question--
Do you even know what Oregon state policy is for ballot duplication? If there are stray marks on the ballot, the opscan will reject it. How many voters are disenfranchised this way? If you make a mistake on an absentee ballot and line through the candidate you do not choose, the machine won't read it. What do you do about that?

In King County Washington, there are teams of ballot duplicators who stamp originals and duplicate blanks. One then reads off the original, and the other marks the duplicate. They switch roles then and one reads the duplicate and the other checks the results by referring to the original.

Most importantly of all, this process (and also signature verification and provisional ballot checking) are observed by paid teems of Democratic and Republican observers.

Overall, it's a reasonably clean and transparent process, but it lacks mandatory audits.

Who observes these processes in Oregon? When, and how?
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Sancho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 07:46 AM
Response to Original message
18. Because in Florida, the PO loses your ballot!
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