Voting Rights Act Decision Underscores Need for National Vote-by-Mail

Comments

1
How does vote-by-mail effect the poor, who likely move more often and therefore may not receive their ballots?
2
@1
Evidence to support your premise?
3
If Republicans are so gung-ho about voter suppression, why in the hell would they vote for this? I mean, yes, we need it, just like the we need to un-jerrymander districts, and we need to stop spending trillions of dollars on wars primarily intended to justify spending trillions of dollars on military equipment. But we're not gonna. Because the party with approximately 50% of the political power in this country has a vested interest in us not getting any better.
4
The only way to guarantee uniform national ballot access is to federalize elections. That's cool with me, because minorities would be better represented if we did away with Congressional districts AMD moved to proportional representation. Herding minorities into "majority-minority" districts dilutes their electoral strength.
5
When I lived in Arizona, we had one presidential primary in which you could vote online. I think it was for already-registered voters. You signed up at the website and they mailed a pin# to your residence with which you could vote once (obvs). I thought that was a pretty good and secure system as well. And it had the advantage of producing results more quickly than mailed ballots.

http://www.public.asu.edu/~mlim4/jus394/…
6
Vote-by-mail makes it easier to vote on (or before) election day. However, part of the problem with these voter suppression efforts is in voter registration as well. In some areas where voter ID laws have been enacted, it has cut new voter registration by a third compared to prior to ID law. When groups do voter registration drives on college campuses, churches, and other organizations, people don't always carry the required ID with them, and therefore can't register. Vote-by-mail wouldn't help that.
7
What I never understand when people complain about requiring ID to register to vote is why someone should not be required to prove that they have the right to vote (i.e. they actually are a US citizen, are who they claim to be, etc.). Just because people "think" there may not be a problem with non-citizens registering to vote when they have no right to do so does not mean that there could not be such a problem. After all, there are many people living in the US who are not citizens.
8
@1: Regardless of the validity of your assumption about the poor, Washington state does not prevent those with "nontraditional" addresses to register to vote:
The Washington Constitution doesn’t require a "residence" as a condition of voting as long as a person meets all other registration requirements. (Article VI Section1)

Voters who lack a traditional residential address can register at the shelter, park, motor home, intersection or other identifiable location they consider their residence. This location will be used to determine which precinct they will vote in. (RCW 29A.08.112 effective 2005)

Along with your residential address, you must also provide a valid mailing address. An accurate, valid mailing address is essential in order to receive ballots and election information on time. This can include a post office box, address of a friend or relative, shelter, or general delivery at a local post office.


FWIW, the homeless people I know use a shelter or church address to receive their ballots. I would imagine that your theoretical poor with unstable home addresses might still have a parent, church or business address to use.
9
@5, Oh, and you could vote from any computer. I voted at the library.
10
@7

We're all eagerly waiting actual proof of the widespread fraudulent voting all the ID proponents are in a hurry to prevent. "Just in case!" "It could be out there!" and "You never know!" don't count.

Unless there's a case being made for GUBBAMINT REGULATION in response to a problem that isn't actually there! Surely that isn't what's going on at all!
11
@10 Nobody objects to having to show ID/proof of citizenship to get a passport. Or a drivers license. Presumably, there's less at stake if someone is not who they claim to be when obtaining either of those documents than granting them the privilege of helping select our government.
12
@11: Passports and drivers licenses are not guaranteed rights in our society. Voting is. We do not require that citizens carry ID in this country, so therefore nobody should be required to show identification to access one of the things we all agree is the fundamental right of a citizen. Requiring ID to vote is like requiring ID to receive a trial when suspected of a crime.
13
@7 That would be a valid point, if we didn't actually KNOW how seldom voter fraud occurs. This isn't a matter of opinion; studies have been done, and show time after time that fraudulent votes account for less than 0.001% of all votes.

On the other hand, we also have hard evidence that laws designed to prevent voter fraud also have the effect of depressing LEGAL voter turnout, mostly among the elderly, the poor, college students, and minorities. If you don't drive a car, you don't need a valid ID in your day-to-day life. Ironically, if you don't have a car, it is very difficult to GET a valid ID in many places. And if it's difficult to get an ID, you probably just won't vote.

This isn't a side-effect of voter fraud laws. Republicans KNOW how infrequently voter fraud occurs. The intended effect of voter fraud laws is to make it harder for certain classes of people to vote. Classes of people who tend to vote Democratic.
14
@11 One more time. What your advocating for is a solution to a problem that DOES NOT EXIST.

Voter suppression on the other hand DOES EXIST. So what would you propose to solve that problem? Or is solving actual problems of no interest to you?
15
@12 You have no right to vote.
Voting is a privilege granted to you.

You have rights to not be denied that privilege for certain reasons, such as your race or gender. That is the extent of your voting rights.
16
@14 I have never personally been denied my right to vote or witnessed anyone being denied their right to vote while I was at a polling place. People claiming this is commonplace does not make it so.
17
@16 "People who are like me can vote; there is no problem with the voting system!"

http://b.3cdn.net/advancement/18ff5be68a…
18
@16 - I'm going to bet that you've also not witnessed a person gunned down on the street, but we know that happens all the time as well. In spite of the fact that you haven't seen it. (If you have seen that, accept my apologies, and substitute the words "hit by lightning" for "gunned down")
19
@16: How about people not even bothering to go to the polling place because they can't get together the requisite ID?
20
Not meant to be political.

Oregon's vote by mail system has many advantages. Not only are we more likely to vote, my hubby and I set aside an evening (in ALL elections, even school board races) to discuss the choices, pros and cons, in all the races. VBM is definitely the way to go.

But I am still nostalgic for the sheer civic-mindedness of waiting in line with my fellow citizens to vote. Not that it's of any practical use whatever.
21
@15: the 17th amendment and the voting rights act indicate otherwise. Yes, that right can be revoked under certain circumstances, but it's quite a bit different than driving, something that is a privilege, not a right.
22
@16 Nor have I, personally, ever had a problem voting, though I do find it annoying to have to pull out my drivers license these days to do so. That bullshit started in Ohio for white males in the 2008 election. For my black friends, well.... voting while black is a lot like driving while black.

Back in the 60s and 70s some family friends had problems with their names mysteriously disappearing from the registration rolls and got in the habit of registering every year.

My friends all voted by mail in 2012 after all the problems we ran into going to the polls in 2008 and 2010. I went in 2012, but I'm stubborn. It wasn't as bad as 08 but I still ended up having to tell a "poll watcher" what the fucking law actually is and to stop hassling the folks working the polls and those trying to vote. "Watched" him for an hour while my councilman got someone from the board of elections there.

Sitting in a safe blue or red State I'm sure you've never had a problem, but Ohio is frontline trench warfare every four years. Here in the birth place of Presidents voting suppression is real.
23
@5:

Believer it or not, but many voters do not have Internet access, particularly the poor and the elderly, so it's not really a viable option for many of them. And voting online at the library just presents the same problems that limiting polling locations and hours does already: most branch libraries only have a few terminals, and with the budgetary belt-tightening that's occurred in many municipalities, their hours are restricted as well. In order to overcome that, you'd have to turn the library into a traditional polling location (which many probably already are), install additional temporary terminals at considerable expense, and extend operating hours. So basically, it's back to Square One for many elderly and low income voters.

Vote-by-mail eliminates these obstacles: voters can fill out their ballots at their leisure and return them to the nearest mailbox, post office, or designated collection point - and most states don't even require return postage. So, no traveling, no waiting in lines, no confusing or unfamiliar interfaces, no being disenfranchised because the polling location closes before you get a chance to actually get in to vote. It's just so much fairer, even if it does mean delaying results.

Personally, I'd rather wait a few days to find out who wins close elections if the trade off is that as many eligible voters as possible get a chance to exercise their franchise.
24
@21 No constitutional scholar am I.

I would quibble that the 17th calls for a popular vote for senators but does not define voter eligibility.

Still, I'll cede to your point - it's much more than driving privileges.

Let's say it'a an acknowledged defacto right but not an uninfringeable capitalized Right.
25
@21:

Don't forget the 15th Amendment, Section 1.
26
@2 & 8, really, I've got to cite to authority for the proposition that poor people, who primarily rent, move more often than middle class people and above, who own their own homes? That's like proving that rain is wet.
27
@ 15 You are very wrong it s a fundamental right as held by the SCOTUS. Take a con law class.
28

Here's what I want to know.

When we vote by mail for Federal offices, why are they collected by local election boards and added up under those and state offices?

Seems to me that if the election is Federal, all the votes should be mailed into a Federal elections office in Washington DC.
29
@28: Okay, that sounds reasonable. Let's send 100,000,000 paper ballots from across the nation (including Alaska and Hawaii) into one facility on the East Coast. What could possibly go wrong?
30
Voting by mail is definitely the way to go.

Too bad republicans will never allow it and will break as many laws as they can to disenfranchise everyone.

Also sucks that so many democrats only ever cast votes for president and for American idol and are otherwise too ignorant and apathetic to actually vote out the lower grade, local and state republican fucks in this nation.
31
@1 @26 You're wasting your breath on this specious argument. What did I advocate? That all states be required to offer a vote-by-mail option. Not that all states become all vote-by-mail, like WA and OR. States would be free to maintain polling places so as to accommodate your fantasy that all vote-by-mail would disenfranchise poor people.
32
@23, I can't argue with any of that. I was just presenting an alternative voting method that could be used in addition to other voting options. BTW, the vote in question took place over many weeks, not during a single day or limited period.

Second BTW: I would LOVE voting by mail. Go Washington/Oregon for such good ideas.
33
Not sure if the whole country needs to vote by mail. There aren't T'Baggers in power everywhere.

So if requiring an ID to register to vote is out, what other avenues of voter suppression are out there? I guess we'll soon find out.
34
#29

Ok, I guess that's why the IRS doesn't work.
35
@34: Um, the IRS allows people to file their tax returns electronically, and there are over 300 IRS offices across the country. Your IQ is apparently below room temperature.