The mid-term elections were held over two weeks ago and still, in some parts of the country, a winner has not been declared. Once again, expensive electronic voting machines (with no paper trail) are being called into question as to their accuracy. All the while, the fine people of Oregon are probably sitting around laughing at the rest fo the country and saying to themselves, “This voting process thing isn’t that complicated – in ain’t brain surgery.”
Why would they being saying this? Because since 1998, the entire state has been conducting their elections via a Vote by Mail system. The citizens of this great state (obviously very smart people) voted to do away with polling places and conduct all elections by mail. Brillant … and cost effective. This system ends up costing taxpayers about 30 percent less than polling-place elections.
Every registered voter receives a paper ballot in the mail weeks before Election Day. The ballot can be either mailed back or dropped off at one of a number of secure sites statewide.
The system has proved to be fraud-free. Oregon is one of only two states in the nation to verify every single voter signature against the signature on that voter’s registration card. Their process is transparent and open to observation. Finally, the returned paper ballots, which are the official record of the election, can be recounted by hand.
A University of Oregon study conducted five years after the adoption of voting by mail statewide showed that 80 percent of voters across the political spectrum prefer it to voting at polling places. It’s a system that answers the needs of Americans who lead increasingly busy, complex lives, balancing many work and family responsibilities.
When will the rest of the states catch the clue bus and ask their citizens whether they would like to have a Vote by Mail system? I believe that most Americans would go for it. Why don’t more state legislators put this initiative up for a vote by their citizens? It ain’t brain surgery. Just do it.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and be safe out there. And don’t forget to remember all of the men and women in our Armed Services who will not be home for Thanksgiving … especially the ones who have paid the ultimate price with the giving of their life … Remember the Fallen Heros. Thank all of them for serving our country and for protecting our freedoms and way of life.