Why are Democrats promoting Electile Dysfunction?? 

Universal voting by mail will have tragic consequences for our democracy.

By Pem Schaeffer

September 1, 2020 

Opening Premise: Every citizen who meets statutory qualifications has the right to vote, and to have their ballot counted. Just as importantly, each voter has the right to not have their vote canceled by an illegitimate ballot, and all citizens have the right to expect that elections are decided only by legitimate voters and votes. 

There’s great insistence on one side of the political divide for “voting by mail” in the upcoming Presidential Election, which will include voting for thousands of state and local officials as well, all as part of the same election. If you’re going to hold traditional elections for everything but President, why bother with the mail at all? On the other hand, if you’re going to elect the President by mail, why bother conducting traditional elections for the rest? It should be all or nothing; anything else needlessly and pointlessly complicates and jeopardizes the sanctity of the election process.

Election conduct is the responsibility of the several states, and here in Maine, the Secretary of State, chosen by the Legislature, is responsible for enforcing State election law, and delegates responsibility for election conduct to individual municipalities. Each of these typically employ a Town Clerk to oversee the Election, and they often serve as registrar of voters as well. This includes voter registration, maintenance of voting rolls, and implementation of the actual voting process, including managing polling locations and Absentee Voting.

Our election conduct overall suffers from a number of systemic vulnerabilities, even without considering the proposed “vote by mail” methodology.

Voter registration and voter roll maintenance are notoriously inaccurate, out of date, and susceptible to compromise. 

No uniform process for state or national level reconciliation of municipal voter rolls.>      Students/party members/other non-officials permitted to conduct registration drives and submit unverified registration cards for voter roll inclusion.>     Deaths, moves, and other vital information changes are not systematically incorporated in rolls.>      Not all those qualified to vote register, and many who are registered do not know where they are registered.>     College students come and go; register locally, but are not systematically removed upon departure. They can easily be double registered in their domicile of permanent residence.>      Cognizant officials tend towards gracious lenience in applying registration law.
Election conduct at the local precinct level is similarly susceptible to compromise.
>    Local poll workers are paid volunteers and usually kindly, welcoming seniors who are, at the very least, lenient in enforcing legal protocols. They believe it is wrong to limit who can vote. They see their involvement largely as a social event renewing old acquaintances and welcoming new ones.>     No formal picture ID required or accepted.>     Election day voting at official polls does allow, however, for enforcement of two typical provisions of election law: preventing electioneering at the polling locations, and allowing voter challenges by approved members of the public. Voting by mail would preclude both of these vital safeguards of election integrity.
Traditional Absentee/Early Voting is reasonably well controlled. >     Formal process for early voting; in my town, voting is conducted in Town Clerk’s Office; official verifies registration and identity before handing over ballot, which must be submitted at the same office visit.>     Requesting Absentee Ballot requires formal mail in application, or speaking in person with Town Clerk personnel who verify identity and registration status. Ballot must be return mailed by established deadline prior to election day.
Ballot Complications in Presidential/General Elections. >      Each resident voter receives a combination of ballots based on their exact address and the municipal, state legislative, and federal congressional districts in which they live. My town has 7 town council districts which overlay 3 state representative districts. This clearly complicates the unique ballot combinations that must be provided to registered voters.>      This complicates absentee voting and early voting, as well as real time voting on election day at the polls.>     Imagine the complications for mailing out ballot packets to ALL registered voters, and the variety of errors than can occur. This represents an enormous challenge, for which municipal staff is not equipped or experienced. The reverse is true for dealing with these thousands and thousands of ballots received by mail, and maintaining order, discipline, and accuracy in doing so.
I can imagine supporters of vote by mail saying that if there are all these complications associated with voting on state and local offices, and even for Members of Congress at the Federal level, than the vote by mail should be for President only. What good would that do? If voters still have to follow the long established procedures for every other office up for a vote, why can’t they do the same for the Office of President?? Just how badly do they want to burden local election officials? Why would we want two separate and distinct methodologies for the voting itself and the subsequent counting process?
Ballot Chain of Custody is Vital to Election Integrity.
Two other material issues argue against voting by mail. First is the sanctity of “chain of custody” that must be preserved if elections are to accurately reflect the will of the people. There are challenges enough in the existing system. If instead universal voting by mail is used, guaranteeing “chain of custody” for ballots will be impossible, and dangerously so. Ballots mailers will be assembled and then turned over to the USPS, where all the unknowns of the Postal Delivery System will come into play. Lost mailers, mis-delivered mailers, stolen mailers, fraudulently created and delivered mailers, unknown credentials of voters of returned ballots, and more similar pitfalls than you can possible imagine. In other words, chaos.
Have you ever seen the nightmare of mailboxes in Rural Free Delivery areas, and on the other hand, in compact urban areas? There is no dependable, consistent way of ensuring anything even remotely close to a trustworthy chain of custody.
Secret Ballots Are Fundamental to Election Conduct in Our Democracy. Now, one more thing. One side of the political spectrum likes to claim that all claims of election fraud are bogus. Their proof is that there are only a minuscule amount of ballot fraud charges that have actually been proven in court.
There’s a simple reason for this. Fundamental to the American system of elections is the concept of secret ballots. The ballots you receive do not include any provision for you to indicate your name and address, and intentionally so. So once the ballot(s) are turned in, whether in person at the polls, by early voting, by absentee voting, or in the proposed “vote by mail” methodology, the ballots have no identity of record. If clear evidence of major foul-ups of ballot distribution, voting, and submission were uncovered, there would be no way to correct the initial vote tallies to mitigate the fraud. The deed would be done, and that would be the end of it.
Other Considerations All this, and we haven’t even mentioned or discussed the handling of ballots for those who are out of town when ballots arrive and/or are due to be returned, whether for a short period, or an extended period. They could be on extended travel, education overseas, military service; undergoing long term health care; or numerous other reasons. Normally, we would expect such individuals to mind their own best interests and apply for an Absentee Ballot using established procedures. But under universal Voting by Mail, ballots would be prepared and eventually mailed out to every registered party at their address of record. This alone opens up major opportunities for fraud, errors in the chain of custody whether intentional or not, and who knows how many other modes of ballot and election compromise.
Process Flow for Universal Voting by Mail
Shown below are the individual steps from inception to conclusion of the general election process that come to mind if it is totally conducted by mail. Readers will likely think of steps we forgot.
Note that each step in the process involves a gap and transition in custody, and as such, is a vulnerability in the integrity of the process. Compare this sequence to in person voting at designated polling locations. (USPS participates in italicized steps)>      Ballot configuration/content/design         >     Ballot production and delivery to Registrars/Election Officials>     Voter packet configuration/assembly◦ Bewildering number of ballot combinations based on EXACT address>    Mailing of packets>     Processing/sorting of packets>      Delivery of packets to everyday mailboxes>      Addressee pick-up of packets>     Addressee voting & preparation of return packet◦ Note that electioneering cannot be prevented with voting by mail, and that the poll-watchers prescribed in election law are similarly irrelevant.>      Addressee mailing of return packet>     Processing/sorting of packets>      Delivery of packets to election officials>     Opening/sorting/validation of packets>     Counting of received ballots>      Submission of counts to sequence of higher authorities at State and National levels>      Storage/archiving of evidentiary materials◦ Ballots, tally sheets, computer files, personnel lists, etc
Closing Premise: Murphy’s Laws of Election Conduct apply most fully to “voting by mail.” >      If there’s a 50% chance that something will go wrong, 9 out of 10 times it will. >      If there are vulnerabilities in the system that can be taken advantage of by mischievous behavior, those intent on rigging the election will do just that.>     Nothing mobilizes armies of lawyers more than the lust for political power. Conclusion: The opportunities, possibilities, and modalities for election mischief, racketeering, and downright criminal conspiracy are unimaginable and limitless. Deciding that we will sign up for this as the new “fair, just, and socially correct” way of conducting elections will be tantamount to destroying whatever election integrity we once had and trusted. Those who demand universal “voting by mail” want widespread misconduct and their own lawyers to determine election outcomes instead of legitimate voters.
If Democrats insist on and gain approval of Universal Voting by Mail, Electile Dysfunction is surely what they will reap, with consequent tragic circumstances for our democratic processes.  Email Link

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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