Vote By Mail – What Could Be More Risky?

Consider the risks of Vote By EMail or Vote By Fax!

We are not convinced that vote by mail can be made safe and private. The purpose of the secret ballot is not just to protect the privacy of the voter, but to protect us all from the votes of others being bought or coerced. For more read our earlier post <read>

Today, the Hartford Courant carried an AP story, largely supportive of Email Voting and FAX voting by the military, Few Troops Vote By E-Mail, Most States Prefer Low-Tech Balloting <read>

I appreciate the caveat in the middle of the article:

Adding an electronic boost to the voting process would ease problems for service members, but it raises security and privacy concerns.

But, that is not the thrust of the article:

That still leaves tens of thousands of service members in far-flung military bases struggling to meet voting deadlines and relying largely on regular mail to get ballots and cast votes — often at the last minute because of delays in ballot preparations in some states. Connecticut is among the 37 states that don’t allow balloting by e-mail.

Pentagon officials have been urging more states to move into the electronic age before November, a move that could help reverse recent trends in which thousands of military members asked for ballots but either didn’t vote or had their ballots rejected for flaws.

Though e-mail continues to be a hotly debated topic among state voting officials, faxing is now broadly accepted as a way of getting ballots to overseas voters. And in as many as two dozen states, voters who sign a form waiving their right to privacy can send the ballots back by fax.

Once again its not just their right to privacy. Its our right not to have their vote bought or intimidated. As I recall our government now has the ability to read all of our e-mails and monitor calls, like faxes – employers such as the Pentagon also have that as a right – and as we all know the Internet is not that secure.

This is not such a small matter…as the article reminds us elections have been won and lost by a very few votes, much less than the votes involved here:

The push comes more than seven years after problems with overseas military voting set off an uproar in President Bush’s narrow 2000 victory. In Florida, where Bush squeaked out a 537-vote victory that gave him the presidency, questions were raised about several thousand overseas military votes that came in after deadlines and were counted in some districts but not counted in others…Of the roughly 1.3 million active duty military eligible to vote, about 500,000 are deployed overseas or permanently assigned there.

Of course this is an AP article.  While the Courant seems blind to larger voting issues, the editors do understand voter privacy. We recall an op-ed by a Courant Intern covering the similar problems with internet voting.


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