Re: Ballot coercion

From: Lillie Coney <coney_at_epic_dot_org>
Date: Mon Dec 03 2007 - 11:52:36 CST

Charlie thank you for sending this around. Voter intimidation is real problem.
The secret ballot is not just about direct threats, but also the
avoidance behavior
people will engage in if they believe that their vote may be
disclosed to others.
There are two areas of concern, the actual disclosure of the identity of voters
and their votes, and the believe even if unfounded that votes are not secret.

Either threat raises the question of election integrity. Absentee ballots
do raise questions around the secrecy of the ballots cast and whether there
is manipulation of the process to undermine measures intended to prevent
intimidation, vote buying and vote selling.

We know enough about absentee voting in the US to understand that elections
outcomes have been successfully challenged because of flaws directly
attributable
to abuse of the absentee voting process. As more states consider
ways to mediate
the cost of public elections remote as well as super polling sites are emerging
as possible solutions.

Lillie

> >From time to time on OVC and other voting forums occasionally we
>hear a rant about how the secret ballot or even the polling place is
>an anachronism and there's no longer threats of coercion. Here's a
>gentle reminder from today's paper:
>
>
>žRussians Being Pressed to Deliver ŽCorrectÓ ResultÓ by Lynn Berry,
>Associated Press:
>
>MOSCOW- With the Kremlin determined to see a high turnover in
>todayŪs election, many Russians say they are being pressured to vote
>at work under the watchful eyes of their bosses or risk losing their
>jobs. They say they also are being told to provide lists of
>relatives and friends who will vote for United Russia, the party of
>President Vladimir Putin÷
>
> In the push to get out the vote, the absentee ballot has become a
>popular tool.
>
> A teacher in St. Petersburg said the school administration told
>staff members to get absentee ballots from their neighborhood
>polling stations ahead of the election. They are to vote together
>today at a polling station at the school.
>
> žThey didnŪt tell us necessarily to vote for United Russia but
>you can read between the lines,Ó said the teacher, who was willing
>to give only her first name, Yelena, out of fear of being fired.
>Similar accounts have been given by teachers, doctors, factory
>workers and others around the country. Some have said they were
>warned they would lose their jobs if they did not comply.
>
> Hundreds of people have called an election hot line to complaint
>about the use of absentee ballots, the Central Elections Commission
>said in a summary of the complaints posted on its Web site. Some
>complaints came from hospital patients, who said they had been
>threatened with early discharge if they did not produce absentee
>ballots÷(end excerpts)
>
>
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-- 
Lillie Coney
Associate Director
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Coordinator, National Committee for Voting Integrity (NCVI)
1718 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(p) 202-483-1140 x 111
(f) 202-483-1248
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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:03 2007

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