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Ban Absentee Voting?

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One of the things that is getting to me in this election is the manipulation of absentee voting. I read somewhere that up to 30% of the electorate will vote weeks before the election by absentee ballot. I think that voting so early deprives the voter of the last few weeks of campaigning, leading to at least partially uninformed votes, and can be used to manipulate the political process by utilizing group process to influence people's decisions.


There are some perfectly valid reasons for voting absentee, of course. It was designed for people who knew they would be away on the day of the election. But it has gotten out of hand -- churches and other groups, on both sides, organizing their people to vote en masse just seems to me to violate the spirit of individual judgment on the part of voters. There is always an element of coercion in bloc and group voting which I think is wrong, whether it is on the left or the right.


And to do it before the campaign is over is simply to prejudge the election process and plays into the increasingly sophisticated manipulation of voting by the McAuliffes and Roves of this world and takes one step further away from an electorate exercising informed and free individual judgement. Many local campaigns depend on voter focus at the end of the process to make new candidates known, and so on a local level mass absentee voting reinforces incumbents and political machines, which seems to me not a progressive step in elections.


Finally, as we found in Florida, absentee ballots are usually counted last and sometimes not till days after the election. In addition, they seem to be challenged more successfully and so bolix up the final count for longer than votes cast on the day of the election. The more of them there are, the harder it is to get a clear result in a reasonably short time.


Thoughts? Are you planning to vote absentee?

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NO! If your vote doesn't produce a paper trail...


...absentee is the only alternative! Hell, even the Florida state Republican party said so, and then were told to shut the hell up, Diebold's a sponsor and the CEO has promised Republicans victory!


So think about these advantages, especially for places like Florida: you apply weeks or even better a month or two in advance so they can run through their Jim Crowe bullshit and tell you that you can't vote while there's still time to do something about it. And once they do give you the ballot, that's it, if signed properly it's clearer and much harder to dispute then any stupid butterfly punch cards or buggy/preprogrammed paperless touch screen system.




Plus, while some push them as a way to lock-in the vote for the uninformed, I feel they allow the voter to be better informed then average. Think about it: you have your actual ballot in front of you, if anything's going to drive you onto the internet (hopefully to balanced sites) to find out about the candidates and any propositions, that would be it. Sure, if you aren't one of these brain-deficient 'undecideds' you know how you're going to vote on President, probably senate as well, but what about all the local offices, what about judges, and how about finding out more then the paid ads tell you about corporate sponsored initiatives/propositions?? Wouldn't having the option to find out as much as you want be better then the current system of voting for whomever's name you remember from a sign or ad?

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RE: NO! If your vote doesn't produce a paper trail...


Those who promote barriers to voting still use the soon-to-be-archaic adjective "absentee." What are you, some sort of communist? Capitalists have had no problems with voting by mail when they elect directors of the corporations who sponsor the PACs that give us the best candidates money can buy. In fact, most of the time shareholders just sign a proxy allowing someone else to cast their vote.


The proper term now is "early voting," but even that is not a good description of what happens in many cases. Yes, you can request a ballot by mail and fill it out at home, with more thought and less hassle than the traditional polling-place routine. But there is little indication that people actually mail the ballots back very early. In fact, in some states they turn them in, in person, at the polls. It's a system that encourages thoughtful consideration and convenience. It discourages last-minute hit pieces to which opposing candidates have no time to respond.

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It's the only alternative for those of us who live overseas.


Besides, nothing that may happen in the final couple weeks of campaigning will EVER change my mind.

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