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And Mail-In Voting Goes Before the Idaho House

February 15th, 2007 by Halli

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee passed the vote-by-mail legislation (discussed in previous posts here and here) and sent it to the full House by an 11-7 vote. This surprised a number of people, not all happily.

Chairman of the committee, Representative Tom Loertscher, whose weekly musings, “House Highlights”, appear in this column, was saddened by the vote. He is justifiably afraid mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud.

Strangely, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is thrilled. He never believed the bill would make it out of committee. Ysursa is very confident that this vote scheme is the answer to low voter turnouts and lack of participation. As an added bonus, it will save the taxpayer money. He suggests that when county election officials come across a problematic signature (the “proof” of each mailed-in ballot’s authenticity), they will just hire “document examiners” to determine if it is a match to the voter’s registration card.

“County clerks aren’t going to bring in some system that’s susceptible to fraud”, Ysursa said.

Of course not. No one has ever attempted to forge another’s signature. Who would think of doing such a thing? Certainly not a political candidate, nor his operatives.

Most Idahoans have completely forgotten about the Republican primary between now-Lt. Governor Jim Risch and former Senator Jack Noble. The legal proceedings for that contested race made it all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court. One of the issues was an absentee ballot purportedly filled out by Risch’s son.

“Document examiners” were unable to definitively say who actually signed that ballot, but many thought it was Risch himself. There were many other points of question, including ballots sitting out of sight of observers in unlocked rooms, and the wife of the chief election judge taking the “dimpled” ballots or ones with “hanging chads” into an unobserved room where she helped the voters decide who they really wanted to vote for (she punched their ballots).

The result of that case was very disappointing. In spite of irrefutable proof of illegalities in the voting, the Supreme Court refused to act. In essence they gave every person who attempts and/or succeeds at vote fraud in Idaho a free pass. By the way, Risch won that primary, but Noble succeeded him when he moved on to lieutenant governor.

So, in the big picture, maybe mail-in voting won’t increase vote fraud. We’ve already got it. But just maybe it will make it easier to commit and more difficult to detect.

To my untrained and admittedly biased eye, it appears that the real reason for mail-in voting is to ease the burden of election officials. (Of course, they could just quit their county jobs and go work for Wal-Mart, but the retirement isn’t nearly as good.) Sorry, but that is not a worthy goal.

In a Constitutional Republic, such as the United States, nothing matters more than an untainted citizen voting system, no matter what the cost in dollars, time or gray hairs for the county clerks.

So mail-in voting works like a dream in Washington and Oregon? Since when have Idahoans felt they had to “keep up with the Joneses”? (In my observation, state bureaucrats are the only ones who keep score on that account anyway, and mainly to see if their paycheck compares favorably to similar out-of-state bureaucrats’.)

Have we forgotten the brave Iraqis who risked their lives to vote? Have we forgotten how few people today or in the annals of history have had the privilege, much less the right, to vote for their leaders?

Let’s keep things in perspective. And lets keep our voting system. Contact the members of the House today.

Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. » Blog Archive » Mail-in Voting - Again Says:

    [...] The mail-in voting bill passed out of the Idaho Legislature’s House State Affairs Committee, much to the consternation of the chairman, Rep. Tom Loertscher. However, the full House sent it back to committee when one minor flaw was detected. [...]

  2. » Blog Archive » Modified Closed Primaries = Open Primaries Says:

    [...] why would county clerks lobby heavily for vote-by-mail, a huge change in voting protocol, yet protest that requiring party registration and (partially) [...]

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