Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Confused Editorial Board of the Idaho Statesman

Posted by Adam Graham on May 31, 2007

From today’s Statesman:

Community college backers won last week, when odds and the two-thirds “supermajority” law were stacked against them. They identified voters who figured to be on their side. They gave sympathetic voters a form requesting an absentee ballot. Then supporters worked the phones, making sure the people who requested a ballot actually voted. The $200,000 absentee ballot drive worked so well that other campaigns — and candidates — are certain to try to emulate its success, undeterred by the spendy sticker price. So well, too, that the state should get in on the act itself.

Vote by mail was one of the many good ideas that got discussed (and tabled) during the 2007 legislative session. It deserves support next time…

Voters are more likely to participate in an election if they can study the issues and fill out a ballot at their leisure. The experience of going to a polling place on Election Day — a communal event where we share participation in democracy with our neighbors — is an important tradition of American politics. We’d never want to see that go away. We also recognize that it isn’t for everybody.

For some 13,500 people in Ada and Canyon counties, driving to a polling place to cast one vote on a single issue didn’t fit their May 22 schedule. It shouldn’t have to, either. Idaho should give citizens the option of how they exercise their right to vote.

I have to wonder if the geniuses at the Statesman have read the vote by mail bill or if they’re letting some of the new out of state talent write their editorials.

For one, the community college campaign showed that anyone who wanted one could obtain an absentee ballot, so if the Statesman’s aim is that anyone who wants to can vote by mail, that’s already the case. Secondly, the Statesman urges that we hold onto election day voting, but the Vote by Mail bill (H.94) they urge us to reconsider actually authorizes the elimination of election day:

34-2601. AUTHORIZATION BY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. With express
authorization from the board of county commissioners, the clerk of the county
board of commissioners shall conduct all primary, special, and general elections entirely by a vote by mail system. The board of county commissioners shall give the county clerk at least ninety (90) days’ notice before the first election to be conducted entirely by mail.

Note the word entirely (emphasis mine).

Third, the Statesman fails to note that absentee ballots are not all mail-in. I went and voted early on Monday. Other than me wanting to get the Truth and Hope Report done on time, there was probably no need, but still when I voted I had to sign the absentee ballot line, but both Andrea and I voted like normal, just a day early.

Finally, a recent study shows Bank by Mail doesn’t drive up voter turnout. Hat Tip: No Vote By Mail.

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