Re: a note rom RC Johnson

From: Arlene Montemarano <mikarl_at_starpower_dot_net>
Date: Wed Feb 21 2007 - 12:54:03 CST

We can take all these precautions to secure the privacy of the vote, and
then, largely /*because*/ it is private, electronic theft can take it
away and for all the care taken, we will have achieved nothing but a
facade of an election.

Brent Turner wrote:
> Hi Brent!
> The mail-in ballot can only be executed in a supervised setting at a
> post office or other government-staffed setting IF you wish to avoid
> the moral hazards of (1) vote purchase and (2) non-secret, organized,
> or collective voting. Supervision and secrecy are the two procedural
> safeguards lacking Oregon's lax approach to voting.
> It is far too easy for political, social, or religious groups to
> collect persons with absentee ballots and influence them in ways not
> otherwise permitted by law as they cast ballots. Note the protections
> against group voting in the laws regulating the polling place: no
> political advertising within so many feet, must enter the booth alone,
> must not make copies of the ballot and carry away from the polling
> place, and so forth. All these regulations are void when it comes to
> unsupervised mail-in balloting.
> Oregon only works because (1) it is free of corruption, (2)
> politicians have not thought of it yet, or (3) nobody notices or
> cares. I think (3) is the most likely.
> In the military, voting by absentee ballot is the norm. I have talked
> to service people who have had their unshielded ballots collected by
> non-commissioned officers, put in envelopes and mailed. Who would not
> be well advised to vote for the commander in chief?
> Similarly, when one's religious leader assembles the congregation and
> suggests that all bring their ballots and show a devotion to the
> Higher Being by voting right, well, one would risk excommunication
> through dissent if you make up your own mind. Only a secret ballot
> allows voters to retain their integrity against social and economic
> pressure.
> In a company town, what is to keep the employer from usurping
> supervision of balloting, volunteering to collect and mail all the
> marked ballots from the town voters to spare them the trouble. Isn't
> that great? People can vote without leaving their own homes.
> And...if you vote wrong you get to lose your job.
> That, folks, is why we have a secret ballot. That is why it is harder
> to buy elections today (literally) than before we had secret ballots,
> advertising notwithstanding. Mail-ins without supervision are only
> secret if people feel like it--there is no procedural safe guard.
> I firmly believe that balloting should be both secret and supervised,
> watched by public poll-watchers to make sure it is done in secret by
> individuals bound by their own beliefs, and not by some public process
> where all are shamed into voting alike. Unsupervised mail-in voting,
> like voting from home on the internet, is a huge step backwards for
> our democracy. IMHO.
> -- Dick
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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:22 2007

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