Post Office Closures Could Usher in Electronic Voting
by Anthony Stasi
Mar 06, 2012 | 13496 views | 0 0 comments | 316 316 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We have had recent national elections that are closer than most of us can remember. That may be a good thing, but the federal government’s plan to close postal processing facilities and post offices could seriously affect these close outcomes.

If the mail is exceptionally slow, absentee ballots might be at risk of not being counted on time. The votes are essential in a democracy, but perhaps the federal government could allow voting electronically in the case of absentee balloting.

Make no mistake, overall the idea of electronic voting is a bad idea because it means that people could be voting as a result of a knee-jerk reaction. If one cannot make the effort to get

to the polls, how serious are they about voting?

But for soldiers, seniors, and people who live in remote locations, there should be a way that they can go to the local board of elections wherever they are, and vote electronically on government hardware.

If you are in Chicago, you can visit the Chicago board of elections and vote there. The vote then gets delivered to your home state. The results do not have to be reported ahead of national voting, they would just be saved.

Is there the potential for error? Sure, but so is leaving a ballot in a mailbox for days while the post office is closed, and they soon be closed more and more often.

If you have ever voted by absentee ballot, you have most likely wondered when your ballot got counted. If a candidate wins by 50,000 votes, and there are only 1,000 absentee ballots, how fast do they bother to count those votes?

With absentee electronic voting, the votes arrive instantaneously. The process still requires effort, people would have to get to the board of elections wherever they are, but it takes the burden off of the postal service, and it removes some of the paranoia about when the votes get counted.

Overseas voting for soldiers would require government hardware to be arranged for this

purpose, but Navy ships and bases can arrange for this. U.S. Embassies can also provide this for overseas Americans who are granted absentee ballots.

We do not want national electronic voting because this should not be a lazy process. We also do not want electronic glitches where elections look like professional all-star game voting, with one person voting 1,000 times. But if we contain electronic voting to absentee votes, we might solve a big problem before it even becomes a problem.

Thank You For Your Dissatisfaction

Speaking of mail, it is becoming more and more of a common practice for incumbents to send letters of thanks – even solicitations for money – to people who have reached out to them with complaints.

This may well be that officials get so much mail that the system is automated, but if that is the case, then they are not really listening to the people. If they are aware of a voter’s dissatisfaction, then thanking them and asking for political support is kind of mean.

These are not “thank you for your interest” letters that voters receive. They are responses that convey a clear misunderstanding of the point that voters are trying to make. An ugly possibility would be that the climate has become so polarized that incumbents in one party realize that this

person is a “never-vote” for them so they can be a little cavalier.

This can happen with incumbents who are in relatively safe seats, like Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland. Voters not only get thanks for their concerns, they are encouraged to send money to the senator, even if they are unhappy with his performance.

Now the onus is on the voter, who gets put on a mailing list, to end the requests. This seems like an unnecessary activity, and it almost certainly happens across party lines.

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