When my kids were little and discovering things as their world became larger, they often asked, "But why?" when given even an explanation of any sort. Being the patient father, I tried my best to answer every time, but there were times when it became too exasperating. So maybe that's why I haven't heard anything back. Who from? Let me explain.
Last week I noticed Senate Bill 5317, which had to do with "Ballots/tabulation & receipt". I checked out the text of the bill (PDF) and learned that the three senators sponsoring this bill want to change the law so that all mail-in ballots have to be received by the county auditor no later than 8:00 pm on the day of the election. There remains an exception for overseas voters or service members returning ballots by mail. For them the date of the declaration they attested must not be later than the date of the primary or election.
And the end of the bill it states:
This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect July 1, 2013.
The sponsors of this bill are Senators Randi Becker, Barbara Bailey, and Jim Honeyford. I wrote to each of them and asked each the same questions.
Why are you offering up this legislation? What problem are you trying to solve with this bill? I did not indicate I was for or against the legislation. I only asked what their reasoning was for offering it up. The image to the right is indicative of their lack of response.
Last November, Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center, wrote an op-ed piece in the Seattle Times in support of changing our mail-in ballot rules to be exactly as this proposed legislation. His main reason? Because Oregon does it. His next strongest reason? Because it's Election Day and we should know who won on Election Day.
I don't need to address the op-ed because Goldy over at The Stranger did an excellent job addressing Mercier's weak arguments.
So why am I hearing crickets chirping instead of answers to my questions? How does this legislation preserve the public peace, health, safety, or support of the state government and its institutions? Maybe other people are asking the senators "Why?" and they're exasperated. Or maybe they don't have an answer and can't come up with one that won't elicit a response like, "What am I? A two-year-old?"