The Perils Of No Excuse Absentee Voting

Vote Absentee: Your Vote May Not Count

Today we learn of the problems in Minnesota with absentee voting in a Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial <read>

A nasty bug emerges in the state election system

Absentee ballots emerged as the biggest flaw in Minnesota’s election system and may hold the key to finally resolving the Senate contest…

But here and nationwide, the rejection of absentee ballots — either because voters improperly filled out documents or because election officials erroneously spiked them — is a problem that’s long been hiding in plain sight.

“For years, people know some part of the [elections] system isn’t working, but it flies under the radar screen because it doesn’t cause problems until you have a situation like Florida in 2000 or Minnesota now,” said Edward Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University’s law school. “Suddenly, it becomes a huge problem. Rejected absentee ballots are the new hanging chad.”

“Boy, is that true,” said Minnesota Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann, who has estimated that more than 13 percent of rejected absentee ballots in the Senate race — possibly as many as 1,580 — were improperly set aside.

Yet, the problem with absentee ballots is much worse than the rejected 13%:

What about the 87% of absentee ballots rejected for legitimate reasons? Most of them represent the votes of legally registered voters that made a simple mistake. Unknown to most of them, their votes did not count and never will. There are other problems with all mail-in ballots, including absentee ballots, see: No Vote By Mail Project

We will hear continuing calls in Connecticut for the Legislature to enact early voting in one of several forms: Early voting in polling places, mail-in voting, and no excuse absentee voting. For a variety of different reasons we conditionally oppose each of these. “No excuse absentee voting” is another name for mail-in voting.

Also, ECM Editorial on issues with absentee voting in Minnesota <read>


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