Our civic duty

His King County Lordship, Ron Simms, was on KUOW yesterday:

A caller expressed his concern about the many different hands that touch his mail-in ballot and could possible change his vote and in turn change the results of an election.  At approx 20:42, Ron says:

“ummm…All-mail ballots do one thing really well, they increase the number of people who vote**; they work very, very well … and we’re already having six-hundred-thousand people vote that way and our idea is transitioning it (?)… and, I understand all the hands, but, you know, again, even with the last gubernatorial election, what the judge finally ruled is that we hadn’t given the governor even a greater margin than we gave her. That’s what he ruled***… and added other ballots to it…but I think our issues we have: ballot integrity, and we have ballot security… we’ve up-ed that scale; I think we have the most security and people have that tabulation, and we’ll have our results.”

My concern lies more in the hands that touch my actual ballot, trying to determine my intent if I didn’t color in my candidate’s or yea/nay’s bubble correctly (which I don’t recall ever having a problem doing, but I guess some folks still do).


What we found surprised us, and runs counter to the claims of vote-by-mail advocates. Instead of boosting turnout, forcing voters to cast their ballots by mail led to a drop in turnout of 2.6 percentage points in the 2000 general election and 2.9 points in the 2002 governor’s race.

When voters lose options, elections lose voters. 


But the most profound effect of vote-by-mail may be to change the way everyday Americans experience democracy, by making polling places obsolete. Research has shown that we are less likely to take part in communal activities today, that we are more frequently Bowling Alone. Do we really need to be voting alone, too?

***Not that you’d find that in the transcripts of the ruling: