Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why The Rush?

Today's Spokesman Review brings us a reprint of an editorial from The Columbian in Vancouver which presents an argument for changing the deadline for mailed in ballots to that of Oregon which requires that all ballots must be in the elections office by the end of Election Day.

Here are the reasons. It takes too long, it's easier for voters to understand the deadline, and it takes too long.

The first reason they give is that allowing mailed in ballots to be postmarked on election day means we have to wait until they all arrive in order for them to be counted. For the really close races that means we don't know who won on election day but we have to wait a few days to find out.

In this day of instant-everything, people want to know on Election Night who won.

What's the rush? Does knowing who won now outweigh making every vote count?

Next, they claim it's easier for voters to understand having the ballot arrive by election day and support that reasoning with an anecdote.

I’m told that this year Multnomah County’s elections office will only receive about 20 ballots that can’t be counted because they were delivered too late. In contrast, here in Clark County, we expect to receive a couple of hundred ballots that can’t be counted because of late postmarks.

And last of all, they create a "what if" scenario where Washington would become as infamous as Florida during the presidential recount in 2004. Now that had to do with recounting ballots in a close election and not waiting for mailed in ballots, which they admitted earlier in the column.

One example is what happened in 2004 when Washingtonians didn’t know for six months the official outcome of the gubernatorial race. That drama had nothing to do with ballot deadlines; it had everything to do with the closeness of the race.

And to top it off, they allow that ballots coming from overseas should be postmarked by election day and allowed to arrive late. Presumably, because most of them wouldn't make a difference since there are so few of them. But then what if the election was that close. Aw shit, then we'd have to wait.

Well, I know how we can fix that.

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