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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Are You Registered? More So, Are Elections Secure?

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall and the Boulder County Elections Division will host an Open House for the public, media and candidates on Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 5-7 p.m. in the County's newly constructed Elections Wing, 1750 33rd St., Boulder. Attendees of the Open House will receive a tour of the facilities and a walk-through of the election process. Visitors will also have an opportunity to ask questions and to meet Elections Coordinator Larry Beer and Chief Deputy Scott Thomas.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, is also the last day to register to vote for the November 6 election. Voters can check their registration status and registered address at www.voteboulder.org.

Given the unresolved concerns around the Lafayette special election on the Lowe's annexation and the various conspiracies I hear in Louisville and Longmont, skeptics may want to attend this tour and see how our democratic processes are safeguarded.

12 comments:

KERRY BENSMAN said...

Dan, what you left out is that the City of Boulder had similar problems with the vote counting system in their recent special election as Lafayette did.

Colorado Russ said...

I read in the newspaper that anyone in Boulder county who did not vote in the 2006 election was being declared "inactive".

Inactive registered voters will not receive a ballot in the mail, unless they contact the county clerk by Oct 9.

I'd like to know if it is normal to declare a voter "inactive" after missing only one election?

KERRY BENSMAN said...

Yes. Supposedly it is to keep mail in ballots from falling into the wrong hands, being filled out, and returned.

But I think an inactive voter can always pick a ballot up at the clerks office.

Paul Tiger said...

In dealing with the issue of mail ballots, which are highly suceptable to fraud, the security is in most part left to the voter.

Make sure that you monitor your mail closely and retrieve your ballot from your mailbox promptly.

If you live with others in your household, don't leave it laying around. (yeppers - several cases in our county were family members and roommates voted ballots other than their own.)

After you've voted, seal up that ballot just like you were going to mail it, but then don't.
Walk it in to the clerk's office, or one of the branches and put it in the ballot box yourself.

Every year, this county and many others, receives hundreds to thousands of ballots correctly postmarked, but delivered after the deadline. Unless a district judge intervenes, they don't get counted.
The US Postal Service is not considered to be part of the elections system, and putting your ballot in their hands has no legal value. USPS <> Ballot Box.

Various subdivisions of USPS have strangely different values.
In 2004 the USPS office at CU did not deliver tens of thousands of voter registration affirmation cards to students and faculty. This is the card that tells you that you are registered, what your voter ID number is, and your precinct polling location.
These 4x5 cards are what many voters take with them to the polls.
The reason given for non-delivery (discovered weeks later) was that the CU USPS office determined that they were a mass of JUNK MAIL.
Guess what they did with them? CU is green. Most had been recycled.

When absentee (mail in requests) didn't arrive in the fall, no one really wanted to ask what happened to them. Had they also been recycled, or did someone just grab them and vote them?

In a mail-ballot election the voter is most of the security. Be vigilant.

Alex Schatz said...

Generally true about mail ballot security problems. The flipside is that participation in mail ballot elections goes way up. That's what I hear, at least.

We've had plenty of election controversies before, to show that most voting systems can be rigged, or fail, in one way or another.

I'm all for the great national event of going to the polls on Election Day. But the verdict is still out, in my opinion, on mail balloting.

Doktorbombay said...

How interesting it is, in a democracy, that we must entice citizens to vote by using mail-in balloting.

Mail-in balloting expands the voting block to include those who are so apathetic they don't bother to drive/walk/bike to the polls.

There are many options for free transport to the polls for those who wish to vote, but can't get themselves there.

Do we really want the apathetic to cast their ballot? These are the same people who wouldn't bat an eye if our democracy was taken away as long as they kept their job and home, and the local WalMart stayed open.

Democracy requires effort, mostly on the part of the voters. Effort to become informed, effort to decide on complex and confusing issues, and effort to get your butt to the polls.

Cyclorado said...

"80 percent of success is just showing up" — Woody Allen

Alex Schatz said...

I'm with you, but just wait until web voting comes along. Then we'll be complaining about how great it was back in the days when people had to make an effort to mail the ballot...

dreamer-believer said...

Mail ballots suck.

KERRY BENSMAN said...

Try running a campaign over a 3 week period when the mail-in ballots are out. It certainly is of no help to those who have done it (like me, twice).

Either way, can one feel good about a 48% turnout?

Cyclorado said...

I like standing in line as much as the next guy, but it really cuts into my free time. Here's a trick... mail in your ballot and tell your boss you need an hour to go vote, take a nice walk instead.

It's nice to set down with the books and compare notes while voting. I don't like to be rushed in a decission, and sometimes end up not casting a vote because I feel I don't have enough info to make a valid vote. I also drop off at the clerks office, to be sure.

Does it matter how you vote as long as you vote? Every election, someone gives me an earfull about voter fraud, and I can't help but think that it is your responsibility to make sure you vate and that it counts. On the flip side, though, should John Q Public have to worry about this? Isn't someone paid by our taxes to make sure everyone who casts a ballot gets a voice?

Colorado Russ said...

The ONLY reason why mail balloting is becoming popular is because the county clerks are getting lazy.

It is a massive amount of work to conduct an election. I know, because I was an election judge for both 2006 elections.

The mail ballot is just EASIER for the clerk's office to deal with. They don't really care that it is more susceptable to fraud!