Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All Mail Voting Dangers Discussed in Re-do

Fraud concerns all-mail in states without


Wednesday, March 12
Dan Tokaji's Blog The Problems with All-Mail Elections

With the Clinton and Obama camps at odds over whether to seat Florida and Michigan delegates, the idea of holding an all-mail election has emerged as a possible solution. The New York Times reports today that Democratic Party officials are "close to completing a draft plan" for a mail-in primary in Florida that would take place in early June. Proponents of all-mail voting often cite Oregon's experience in support of their arguments. If they can do it, the argument goes, why can't we?

Given that Democratic Party rules set clear standards for having delegates recognized, which Florida and Michigan just as clearly failed to abide by, it seems obvious that the delegates selected through those states' prior primaries shouldn't be recognized. At the same time, there are reasons to be very cautious about exporting all-mail elections to these states, especially in a hotly contested and undeniably important race like this one. Here are a few of those reasons:


Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the do-over mail in primary hasn't been done before in Florida, and this "is not the time to test..."

Schultz further responded by asking how would the signatures, voter registrations, and the like be checked?

Her questions implied a potential for election fraud.

CNN Transcripts


Logistics of Re-do what happens to previous 'delegates' in the Democratic Convention?


Do Delegates Have Free Will?
Ted Rose
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2000, at 3:02 PM ET


How a costly recount in Florida could haunt the Democrats – again

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

E-mail John Ibbitson | Read Bio | Latest Columns
March 6, 2008 at 4:34 AM EDT


Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Decision 2008
Dem panel to pitch mail-in vote
Group will look at how it has worked in other states before recommending course of action this week.
Mark Hornbeck and Deb Price / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

William Lunch, chairman of the political science department at Oregon State University, has been a persistent critic of mail voting, although he concedes the system in Oregon has "worked pretty well."

But Lunch raised two objections.

"There is some question about the potential for fraud," he said. "In Oregon, there is a history of clean politics so fraud concerns have not been a serious problem. But in a state with a different history, like Florida, they have to be very careful about the way ballots are distributed and counted. There may be concerns about the appearance of fraud."

Michigan has no party registration, so many questions arise about how a caucus-by-mail would work here. Should ballots be sent to all registered voters? Would they have to declare themselves Democrats by marking a box on the ballot? Since the state Democratic Party officials intend to disallow those who voted in the Republican primary in January from taking part in the caucus, how would they screen for those voters?

"These are questions we've been asking all along," said Liz Kerr, spokeswoman for the Michigan Democratic Party. "There would have to be a way for voters to declare themselves Democrats or the DNC (Democratic National Committee) won't recognize it as valid. "We continue to have concerns about money, logistics and security."

In their 2004 caucus, Michigan Democrats permitted voting via mail, the Internet and in person. About 40 percent participated on-line, 35 percent in person at caucus meeting spots and 25 percent by mail. But Kerr noted only 165,000 Democrats took part.


CNN March 10, 2008

Let's talk to Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, right now.

You're proposing a mail-in vote in Florida. But even you suggest that there are problems there in the piece you wrote in "The Wall Street Journal," Senator. You said this: "Mail-in balloting, of course, poses some challenges, including matching the signature on each ballot with the signature on a voter's registration card."

I can already see pictures of some guy trying to match signatures to make sure that they're the same, that it isn't fraud. If you're going to do it again, why not do it right? ...


FL and MI Revote Discussion


Sharpton on CNN

LEMON: People said it would be all over by now. It would be all over by last week. So now we have this big question, what do you do about Florida and Michigan? That's still a huge problem facing the Democrats. Right now both states' delegate don't count because Michigan and Florida went against party rules and moved up their primaries. Al Sharpton is in Florida where he's meeting with voters. Today, he says, just got off a plane, and he joins us by telephone in Orlando.

You're having voters are sign affidavits. What are you doing?

AL SHARPTON, ACTIVIST: I'm meeting with leaders in Orlando later tonight, and Daytona Beach tomorrow, and Port St. Lucia and Miami, leaders that are bringing to us voters that have said that they would have voted had they not been told by the Democratic National Committee that their votes didn't count, the delegates wouldn't be seated.

Now if they go back on that word, if the DNC does in any arrangement seat the delegates in Friday in Michigan they are, in effect, robbing people that listened to them, feeling the votes didn't count of their right to vote. You cannot violate people's rights by misleading them, saying, your vote won't count, the delegates won't be seated, and then come a few months later, when the race is tight, say, oh, I'm kidding, we're going to seat these delegates and you lost your right to your vote or your opinion.

LEMON: OK, so, reverend, are people there open to you, to all of this? What are they saying?

SHARPTON: People are the ones that contacted our chapters of National Action Network here. That's why I've come down, because many of the ministers and leaders that work with us said, we've got congregants, we've got people that said they didn't vote because the delegates wouldn't be seated.

LEMON: So they're with you. They're with you.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

LEMON: What about -- what's the DNC saying? Are they saying anything to you?

SHARPTON: When I talked to Chairman Dean a week ago he said that he was not going to change the rules. Now we keep hearing back and forth different options. We want to make it clear that if in fact they try to pressure the DNC into changing rules that we intend on a voters right suit to go into court to protect these voters that in fact did what the DNC said.

LEMON: You're serious. You are -- this is serious then.

SHARPTON: This is dead serious. How do you explain -- people said, well, a couple of million people voted in Florida. There might have been 10 million that voted if they felt that it was counted. What are you going to do about Michigan where they only have two candidates' names on the Democratic ballot? You can't disenfranchise people.

LEMON: Reverend, I've been reading some people -- reading stuff in the newspapers, on the blogs that say, you know what, they're only doing this because this is going to benefit Barack Obama. That's why you're doing it.

SHARPTON: We're doing because it's going to benefit people who listened to what the DNC said and that had a right to vote and had a right to select the delegates, and they didn't because they were misled, if in fact these delegates are seated by the DNC. I don't believe the DNC should do that. I hope they won't. The chairman has said he won't. We want to make sure these people are protected to see that he remains consistent with that commitment.

LEMON: Now, reverend, I know you're in the middle of your radio show, so we're going to let you go. But I want to ask you, what's next?

SHARPTON: What's next is we want to see what the DNC does. They're talking about mail voting, they're talking about redoing -- we want to make sure whatever process happens, that it does not seat the delegates that were selected by only those that voted in primaries the DNC said would not count...


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