Monday, October 30, 2006

Early Ballots

An interesting story was buried in last Saturday’s Tucson Citizen. According to reporter Blake Morlock 166,563 people in Pima Co have applied for early ballots for the 11/7 election. This is a large number of early ballots out of an active voter list of 420 thousand.

In 2002, the last mid-term election, 114,487 early ballots were requested. The current figure is a forty-five percent increase. (Of course there is a Senate race this year and a hotly contested Congressional race in CD 8.)

So far only about 50,000 ballots have been returned.

With nine days to go that leaves a huge number of ballots not yet voted. If you request a ballot and don’t vote it you MUST bring it with you to your polling place or you will not be allowed to vote. If the dog ate it, or you have otherwise lost it, the best you’ll be able to do is submit a provisional ballot.

A political junky friend wrote the following comment:

“The number of requests this year seems large (170K out of 420K on the active voter list). I have previously worried that an election could be tampered with by making early ballot requests for people (without their knowledge) so that such people would be denied the vote on election day. I would be on the lookout for significant numbers of people complaining at the polls that they did not request a mail ballot even though their name is marked as such. I would also be concerned if less than 90% of the requested mail ballots are voted and returned.

"My worries are probably not warranted but it would still be prudent to keep this in the back of your mind on election day."

Voter fraud? In America? Oh surely not!


Kralmajales said...

Wow...that would be a scary scenario indeed Art. You could easily target thousands of a candidate's likely supporters and then flumox them up.


Best to you!

azwildcat88 said...

This is why I am opposed to the complete Voting by mail idea. I think that, with the exception of tradtional absentee ballots for those thatcan't vote on election day, voting should take place at a polling station, and on PAPER BALLOTS as well. I want a paper trail that can be verified. I am not a technophobe by any means, I work in the field of educational technology. The electronic voting machine in my precint was not even working the morning that I went to vote in the primary. The pol workers had no idea how to fix the problem. Scary if this happens on election day when the machines are the ONLY way of voting....

Kralmajales said...

I am inclined to agree with you AZwildcat. I don't like to sound or feel paranoid, but there are too many things that can go wrong without it.

Remember the day when they had the voting machines with levers and stuff? Some political parties in some counties rigged the machines so that when you pulled the final lever to register your votes, it would switch to an all democrat or all republican vote.

Can't be too hard to do that with computers.

I, however, am always excited and am seduced by the early ballot...and always feel disappointed that I can't go to the polls on election day.

azwildcat88 said...

Voter fraud? In America? Oh surely not!

YES! And stop calling me Shirley!