Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do mail-in elections and instant runoff voting erode confidence in Aspen elections?

A writer from Pitkin Co Colorado says that though mail-in elections and instant runoff voting are touted as cost savers, they erode the creditability of elections. More is less.

For a return to traditional elections (LTE)


I have real concerns regarding mail-in elections.

I think many people feel the same way. You have to put your legal signature on the outside of the envelope. In this time of identity theft that seems ridiculous.

In the case of the hospital election we are being asked to vote to continue a mill levy on our property taxes as well as choosing hospital board members. We are to send out ballots to the hospital. I absolutely do not question Nell Strijbos-Arthur’s integrity but in general should election ballots be collected by the entity that will benefit from a positive outcome? The fire district election is for board members only, but that is certainly important as well and those ballots go to the fire district.

During the last general election I took my ballot to the Pitkin County clerk’s office and asked to put it in the ballot box. I was denied that right because my signature (on the outside of the envelope, arrgghh!) needed to be verified prior to the ballot going into the box. Since they didn’t want to do that while I waited, it was put in a pile of other ballots. I couldn’t believe it. I wrote a letter to the clerk with my concerns and received no response, although there was an article in the paper that sort of explained the “process.”

I realize that mail-in elections and IRV are attempts at curbing the cost of elections, but don’t you feel the credibility of elections is being eroded? Ballots are found in the trash in post offices. Can we really expect that signatures can be absolutely verified? We are giving away our civic responsibility to show up and vote to a process that purports to get more people to vote, but are they sure they are the legitimate voters? At least when you go the polls to vote, you sign a card, show your picture identification in front of a sworn election judge, and you are serious about voting because you made the effort. Of course, there have always been absentee ballots, but you had to apply for one, and bring it to the clerk, it felt more legit.

I am for a return to traditional elections with judges, voting machines, the chance to see neighbors and friends, and getting to wait a little bit for the results. It was much more exciting and fair and American.

Valerie Braun
Woody Creek

Visit this link to sign up for email updates:

1 comment:

Dann Dobson said...

A three judge panel here in Minnesota ruled that the Instant Run-Off Group, Better Ballot Minnesota, violated election laws during their campaign last fall to get Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV) approved in Saint Paul. Better Ballot Minnesota was given the maximum fine of $5,000, when they claimed endorsements they did not have.

Unfortunately, IRV will stay on the ballot.

But Instant Run-Off Voting is a corruption of the voting process and has not done what it's supporters have promised. Voters in Minneapolis were told it would "open up the voting process" and allow more candidates. What happened last fall was that the incumbent Mayor, R.T. Rybeck, ran against 10 opponents, and no one could make any headway in the cacophony of voices. IRV has been shown rather than opening up the voting process, to be a great tool for incumbents. Instead of running against one candidate in a general election, where the issues are narrowed after a primary election, there is one election, where the incumbent stands out among all his or her challengers.

Several cities, which have previously approved IRV, including Burlington Vermont and Durham, North Carolina have repealed it, after poor experiences. In Burlington, they dumped IRV, after Bob Kiss, the candidate who initially came in second, in the first round of voting, was re-elected Mayor after other candidates were dumped in the squirrelly IRV voting system.,_Vermont_mayoral_election,_2009

IRV is undemocratic and distorts voters true intent.