It’s time for you late-Boomers and Gen Xers to step up. A few weeks ago, I expressed my distaste for mail ballot elections and heard from several folks and have seen many social media posts all commenting the same. But I’ve not learned of anyone volunteering to become an election official and help ensure the availability of in-person voting.
Activists are using the fact that many Americans are fearful of catching an illness when voting at polling stations to initiate changes to voting laws - changes that actually make voting more prone to fraud - a situation that every honest American should abhor. While I’m not that worried about scams here in Clearwater County, on a national basis this is not a hypothetical danger; it’s real. As of now, the trend is toward more and more of the electoral process being done where the public can’t observe the procedures. That must not only be stopped, it must be reversed.
Our elections have historically tried to build in safeguards against shenanigans at the ballot place by having witnesses to the vote count, ID requirements, and poll place observers. But such safeguards are overridden in the case of mail-in voting. The biggest problem with absentee ballots is the chain of custody. The ballots disappear from public view for weeks. What happens to them then? When are they counted? According to the only authorized observer to the recent Clearwater County tally, exactly one ballot was opened and counted on election night.
Another problem here locally, as well as nationally, is that voter registration lists are notoriously inaccurate. A review of our voter roll finds that 1 in 10 are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate - a major invitation to fraud.
The edicts by Governor Little which changed our election process at a whim and altered the rules several times during the course of the recent primary campaign were certainly arbitrary and possibly unconstitutional, but the easiest solution to the problem is to have a ready staff of election volunteers willing to ensure the honesty and integrity of our in-person balloting. It’s time for patriotic citizens to step up, call the County Clerk and offer help.