Monday, May 05, 2008

A mill levy around our necks

Have I mentioned how much I hate mail-in elections? God, I hate mail-in elections.

UPDATE: Paul Stephens, estimable editor of the Montana Green Bulletin, hates mail-in ballots at least as much as I do. In an article entitled "The end of democracy?" he argues that mail-in ballots are less secret and therefore more vulnerable to manipulation and corruption.

Stephens recently got a mail-in ballot for a Great Falls school election. "For those whose votes are for sale, or subject to inspection at home, there is no longer any 'secret ballot,'" he writes. "I tore mine up and threw it away. I won't vote that way."


david said...


Chuck Rightmire said...

David: it does take some of the socializing out of the election process, but it enables some people to spend more time thinking about their vote (I hope) since most people don't know what or who is on the ballot until they get into the booth when they have to walk in. Mail in works well for me and gets more to participate which is a good thing since less of those without an ax to grind vote if they have to walk in.

David said...

Why? Because it takes all the fun out of an election. No sense of anticipation, no last-minute stumping, no warm glow in the heart from doing one's civic duty. Now voting is as stimulating as paying the light bill. I'd rather watch TV.

Ed Kemmick said...

I agree that the process is important and that mailing in a ballot robs some of the thrill from the process, but I would hope the result is more important than the process, and those who don't vote at all because they don't like mail-in ballots are being stupid, including the estimable Mr. Stephens.

I don't get what he means by "For those whose votes are for sale, or subject to inspection at home, there is no longer any 'secret ballot.'" Please explain.

David said...

I don't think I will ever be persuaded that the result is more important than the process. I can live with whatever result voters want, so long as the process works.

I think Paul meant that if I want to sell my vote, even for a cup of coffee, it is much easier with a mail-in ballot. And that people don't have quite the same privacy, even at home, as they do in the booth.

Chuck Rightmire said...

David: I think Ed is right. I would not want Mr. Stephens to vote if he cares so little about the issues that he will not mail his vote in. There have been numerous votes sold over the years. In Montana, there is a story that immigrants, who were not yet citizens but were working on special projects in Eastern Montana, would line up before the judges and say the only words of English they knew, "Straight Democratic Ticket." And in Butte, the saying on election day was "vote early and often." Votes are stolen and sold in many ways, witness Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004 or Illinois in 1960. In each of these cases there were indications of mishandling of votes and voters, which I might add is easier to do when you have to show up at the polls. At least it was a heck of a lot more than 15% who decided against this mill levy.