Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PA: Early Voting But With Protections?

Will protections be put into place in Pennsylvania should legislators adopt the measure for Early Voting?

those would include enabling Early Voters the same opportunity to cast a paper ballot utilizing a 'precinct' optical scanner to afford every such voter the 'warnings' precinct voters receive. Over-voted ballots are impossible utilizing precinct electronic voting machines (more often chastized for lack of a true 'paper ballot record and trail), or paper ballots with precinct optical scanners.

The optical scanners notify voters of over-votes and an undervoted ballot before the voter casts the ballot. The feature allows the voter to review and alter the ballot if the voter chooses to do so.

Unlike absentee paper ballots, which receive no such review by the voter, the precinct paper ballots (other than Provisional), forestall ballots which are voided or rejected.

One need only look to Minnesota's Senate race which is thrown into a recount situation to understand the reasoning behind enabling the optical scanner review when paper ballots are utilized.

Without them, individuals make not only unintentional mistakes, but intentional marks which under normal circumstances would absolutely disqualify a ballot from being counted. Only in tight races would those even be considered in the overall mix.

Voters in such cases are not given a 'second chance' to replace a faulty ballot, on their own, and it may be left to other than the voter to try to determine the voter's intent.

That isn't the way voting was supposed to be designed.

Another feature paper ballots and machine cast ballots that should be implemented: a box for each race for None of the Above or No Choice. A ballot without this is subject to misinterpretation when voters leave what others view as a key important race, blank. It happens. Detractors of the DRE electronic machines point to hundreds or thousands of unmarked key races as the fault of the machines.

this could easily be addressed with a No Choice selection on all ballots for all races.

The same with the referendum questions. some people just don't care about those, and particularly with paper ballots, the potential exists for tampering later. Such could happen.

The next measure legislators must implement is for mandatory voter registration review and if necessary purges of 'ineligible' voters.

In this day and age with computerized databases it is unconscionable that the names of deceased persons still remain on most county voter registration lists.

Voters who have moved or changed addresses outside the district or county or state must also be reviewed.

A well-known organization stated the potential exists for at least 25 percent of a county's voter registry to consist of such ineligible voters.

In one county of note, Fayette, commissioners admitted to the need for a review as some at least 25,000 to 30,000 listings should be questioned and mailings should occur sometime in 2009 to determine status.

Net the Truth Online

Legislators plan bills to allow early voting
Saturday, December 13, 2008
By Tom Barnes, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- Many states allow people...

...And 31 states permit early voting, where voters can cast their ballots 10 or 15 days before the first Tuesday in November. Pennsylvania doesn't allow that either, but change could be in the air on that one.

Democratic state Reps. Scott Conklin of Centre and Eugene DePasquale of York plan to introduce legislation next year to allow voting in advance of election day.

Mr. Conklin would permit people to vote in person at their county Board of Elections, or at some other location the board would approve, beginning 10 days before Election Day. Early voting would apply to spring primaries as well as November general elections, and to municipal, county, state and national elections.

Some states, including Florida, currently permit early voting up to 15 days before an election.

Mr. DePasquale, grandson of former Pittsburgh City Councilman Jeep DePasquale, also would like to see early voting approved for all elections.

"We want to make it more flexible for working families, for senior citizens, and for avoiding long lines on Election Day," he said. "We need to make it easier for qualified voters to vote in Pennsylvania."

He said his bill and Mr. Conklin's probably will be combined into one piece of legislation at some point. They are both seeking co-sponsors now. If approved next year, the measure might not take effect until the May 2010 primaries, when Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates will be chosen.

...Rep. Mike McGeehan, D-Philadelphia, plans to sponsor a related bill aimed at making voting by absentee ballot easier. It's called "no excuse needed." People could vote by absentee ballot for any reason at all -- or for no reason at all, but simply because they wanted to.

Now absentee ballots are available only to voters who will be of town, incapacitated, or hospitalized on Election Day.


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