"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case." —Thomas Paine, "Dissertation on First Principles of Government," 1795.

We the People...

ON THE ELECTION INTEGRITY PROJECT

ONE MONTH'S WORTH...

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Vote By Mail Concerns, Part 1

Both major parties encourage voting by mail. Registrars of Voters (ROV) conspicuously urge people to become permanent vote by mail voters. Three states have now become all vote by mail. Even a cursory thought process should uncover some doubts and concerns regarding choosing to vote this way.
 
The vote by mail (VBM) option protects those unable to get to the polls on Election Day. For financial reasons, it also becomes a requirement for voters whose precinct contains fewer than 250 registered voters. Most voters have the privilege of voting in person on Election Day.
 
Here are some very good reasons to take advantage of that privilege in lieu of “pushing the easy button” and CHOOSING to vote by mail.
 
Consider the following:

  • VBM ballots are not secret ballots—they have your name on them. If you have the choice, it is important to protect the right to a secret ballot by not voluntarily surrendering it.

  • If you return your completed ballot by mail, you are most likely voting very early, without all of the information necessary to cast an informed vote. Campaigning continues until Election Day, and information continues to surface. Voters who submit a ballot up to 3+ weeks early may come to regret an unalterable decision.

  • Your vote-by-mail ballot is vulnerable while it is the mail to you. It can be lost, mangled or stolen. EIP Poll Observers noted that unexpected numbers of people presented themselves at the polls in 2012 claiming that their mail-in ballot never arrived. They cast provisional ballots, but if their original had indeed been harvested and voted by someone else, their provisional vote likely did not count because the records would reflect a previous vote in their name.

  • According to John Fund in his book Stealing Elections, VBM ballots are a major source of fraud and disenfranchisement. Election Integrity Project Poll Observers reported that there were voters in 2012 whose status was changed to vote-by-mail without their knowledge or permission, yet did not receive a ballot in the mail. Whether their ballot was redirected to another address or stolen before it reached them, these voters’ only option was to vote by provisional ballot on Election Day. If someone had usurped and voted their VBM ballot, their provisional ballot would have been rejected—instant disenfranchisement and the voter would probably never know.

  • Assume your ballot reaches you without mishap, as most will. It becomes vulnerable again when you mail it back. As trustworthy as the postal service is, mail does get mishandled (look forward to Part 4 for more on this), and a well-placed “mole” in the system could purposely misdirect or mangle ballots from pre-selected people or neighborhoods. It is not a chance worth taking.

  • Knowing this, many VBM voters choose to submit their ballot in person at the polls, rather than relinquishing it to the postal system. If you’re going to the polls anyway, why not go to your own polling place, surrender your VBM ballot and vote in person while you are there and avoid all of the other potential risks?

  • Even if you drop off your mail-in ballot in person at the County Elections Office or the polls, it is still subject to loss, mishandling or error during the extensive processing procedures within the County Elections Office, to which same-day ballots are not subject.

  • Legitimate voters are not well protected in the event someone has harvested their ballot and voted in their name. Because the law requires that all decisions regarding signature match be “liberally construed in favor of the voter” [EC § 3000], rejection of any ballot on the basis of signature is highly unlikely. If someone has usurped your ballot, chances are very high that even though the signature is clearly not yours, it will be accepted, just as it will be if the ballot is authentic.

  • Most mailed VBM ballots do reach the ROV. But VBM ballots can be damaged during postal or ROV handling, and would then need to be opened and copied onto a new form that can be accepted by the counting machine—duplicated by two ROV employees. It is not a far leap to realize that this is one more opportunity for error or wrongdoing by someone with an agenda.

  • Finally, VBM ballots give SOMEONE ELSE the power to decide whether your vote will be counted or not. Signatures on the outside of the ballot must be validated prior to its being opened and counted. Your vote is subject to the judgment of whoever is tasked with that decision.

If you are currently a vote-by-mail voter, protect your vote:
  • If you have not received your ballot by now, call your local elections office and report it. Generally the ballot can be deactivated and a new ballot can be mailed. If you wait any later to report a missing ballot, and it has been “harvested”, the probability is that it will be filled out and mailed by the harvester and processed (counted) at the elections office soon, after which nothing can be done to return your right to vote to you.
 
If you have received your ballot:
  • You can still vote in person. If you have an assigned polling place and you are able to go to the polls and vote in person, surrender your ballot to your polling place on Election Day and receive a same-day ballot to cast. 

  • If you do not have an assigned polling place, either take your ballot directly to the county elections office and submit it there, or drop it off at any polling place in your county on Election Day.

  • If you cannot get to the polls on Election Day, you may authorize a family member or member of your household to drop your ballot off for you at any polling place in the county. Just be sure that you both fill out the designated areas on the outside of the envelope.

Mailing your ballot should be your last choice.

Download a PDF of this installment to print and share with family and friends.

Check back soon for the next installment of “Did You Know?”. If you missed any previous installment, you can access them in the archives.

DONATE
We are a citizen advocacy group and rely on the kind and generous donations of those who believe the integrity of the CA election process is paramount to fair and honest elections. Please consider donating today.

Voter roll concerns and the National Voter Registration Act


Did You Know that Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 require that DMV offices, state offices that provide public assistance, and all state offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities must offer voter registration opportunities?…Read the full installment »

Get to know your County Elections Office website


Did you know that your County Elections Office has a website with many helpful features and information about anything and everything to do with elections? Did you know that this year, a non-election year, is the best time for you to protect your vote by educating yourself?…Read the full installment »

Why talk about voting in 2013?


This is 2013, a non-election year. Why talk now about topics relevant to the electoral process? Why even think about it now? Let us hope that all questions are as easy to answer. Why do athletes train in the off-season?…Read the full installment »
Copyright © 2014 Election Integrity Project, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website.

Our mailing address is:
Election Integrity Project 27943 Seco Canyon Road #521 Santa Clarita, California 91350 USA


10/15/14

Vote By Mail Concerns, Part 2

A 2005 Presidential Commission co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker III, determined that vote by mail ballots do not satisfy five essential criteria for sound and honest elections? The commission found that:

  • Mail-in votes do NOT assure privacy

  • Mail-in votes do NOT verify that only duly registered voters cast ballots

  • Mail-in votes do NOT safeguard ballots against loss or alteration

  • Mail-in votes do NOT assure prompt counting (processing and verification is a lengthy process)

  • Mail-in votes do NOT foster the communal aspect of citizens voting together

The first four points are rather self-explanatory, so let’s spend some time and thought on the importance of the last one. Federal law requires that the presidential election be held every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (established in 1845). Congress did not establish an election WEEK or an election MONTH, but a single day, and for a reason. As a free people, we must participate in our own freedom, and we must have a strong sense of unity and respect for one another that will carry us beyond the contentiousness of the election cycle.

If we vote in the same way we pay our bills, at a day and time of our own choosing, with a quick signature and the lick of a stamp, surrendering the most precious right ever known in the history of humankind to the whim and imperfections of “the system”, what is to become of our NATIONAL IDENTITY?

Voting is an invaluable privilege unique and rare in human history, and must never be relegated to the status of an afterthought, an inconvenience to be dispatched with as little time and trouble as possible.

America was founded on the respect of individual choice, individual rights, and individual responsibility.

But what we MUST do TOGETHER is choose those who will govern us.

Let us not lose who we are as a united people.

It is hard to imagine that there are older voters who have forgotten, and younger voters who will never experience the gravitas, the wonder, the amazement, the thrill, and the chills running up the spine engendered by physically walking into that flimsy cardboard booth, flanked by friends and neighbors, picking up a pen, and making a mark that could change the course of the nation’s future.

The lure of ease and convenience has caused us to surrender many things in today’s society. We have surrendered health and well being for fast food preparation; we have surrendered physical fitness for speedy transportation; we have surrendered privacy for mass communication; we have surrendered the responsibility of life-long learning and critical thinking for indulging in mindless big-screen entertainment; we have surrendered collective morality for laissez-faire relativism.

But what we must NEVER surrender is the understanding that there is ALWAYS a price to pay for “pushing the easy button”.

Every two years we need briefly to interrupt the activities of one day, cross the street or go down the block, link virtual arms with our fellow Americans, cast an in-person vote, and proudly wear the “I Voted” sticker for the rest of the day—a small cost for a great reward. We make time for what means the most to us. Let us make a covenant with one another to dedicate the time to protect our vote.

Let us commit to vote in person, and to SPREAD THE WORD.

Download a PDF of this installment to print and share with family and friends.

Check back soon for the next installment of “Did You Know?”. If you missed any previous installment, you can access them in the archives.

DONATE
We are a citizen advocacy group and rely on the kind and generous donations of those who believe the integrity of the CA election process is paramount to fair and honest elections. Please consider donating today.
 

Vote by mail concerns, part 1


Both major parties encourage voting by mail. Registrars of Voters (ROV) conspicuously urge people to become permanent vote by mail voters. Three states have now become all vote by mail. Even a cursory thought process should uncover some doubts and concerns regarding choosing to vote this way…Read the full installment »
 

Voter roll concerns and the National Voter Registration Act


Did You Know that Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 require that DMV offices, state offices that provide public assistance, and all state offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities must offer voter registration opportunities?…Read the full installment »
 

Get to know your County Elections Office website


Did you know that your County Elections Office has a website with many helpful features and information about anything and everything to do with elections? Did you know that this year, a non-election year, is the best time for you to protect your vote by educating yourself?…Read the full installment »
Copyright © 2014 Election Integrity Project, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website.Our mailing address is:
Election Integrity Project 27943 Seco Canyon Road #521 Santa Clarita, California 91350 USA 

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