Patterico's Pontifications

12/31/2007

Absentee Ballots are Out in 11 27 States

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The political world is focused on Iowa, New Hampshire, and to some extent on South Carolina but absentee ballots have been out in 11 states since December and will be available in 16 more states in January:

“While candidates stump in Iowa, voters already have opened the 2008 presidential race by casting absentee ballots in nearly a dozen other states.

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses are Thursday. But residents of 11 states—Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina and Utah—have been able to vote for their favorite candidates since December.

The first was Michigan, where absentee ballots were made available Dec. 1 for the Jan. 15 primary. Requests are high so far. “We’re burning through a lot of OT in my office,” said Lansing, Mich., Clerk Chris Swope, who estimated that three or four employees have been working two to three hours a night to keep up with absentee applications.

Absentee voting expands to a majority of the country in January. Sixteen other states make ballots available to their voters before the end of the month, including delegate-rich California on Jan. 7.

Nearly 4 million voters in California are signed up as “permanent absentee voters,” meaning early ballots for the primaries will automatically pop up in their mailboxes. In 2004, about a third of the state’s primary ballots were cast early. In 2006, the figure was 47 percent.”

Voting absentee is easy and it’s becoming more and more common nationwide. That’s why it’s important to have laws that require local governments to check voter IDs and proof of citizenship when they register as well as when they vote.

— DRJ

25 Responses to “Absentee Ballots are Out in 11 27 States”

  1. Good points. I used the absentee ballot option for most of the 26 years I was in the military and never missed an election.

    National ID card should be one of the steps taken to address the illegal immigration problem as well as things like voting. Tie it in with a national database for driver’s licenses and the country is safer on many accounts, including drivers and truckers with multiple licenses at their disposal to mitigate risk of losing a license.

    voiceofreason (4fd5c9)

  2. That’s why it’s important to have laws that require local governments check IDs and proof of citizenship when voters register as well as when they vote.

    Then why wasn’t this an issue for the Bush DOJ and the Republican Party? Why were they only concerned about in-person voting, which would seem inherently much more difficult to do fraudulently because of opposition poll watchers (if nothing else). I mean, only an America-hating cynic would suppose it had something to do with the GOP’s historical advantage in absentee ballots.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  3. which would seem inherently much more difficult to do fraudulently because of opposition poll watchers

    In areas that didn’t require voter ID how could this possibly be true?

    voiceofreason (2f1f8f)

  4. Andrew J. Lazarus,

    State and local governments are in charge of voter registration. For now, it’s not a federal matter.

    DRJ (09f144)

  5. including drivers and truckers with multiple licenses at their disposal to mitigate risk of losing a license.

    Err, no.

    nk (c87736)

  6. State and local governments are in charge of voter registration. For now, it’s not a federal matter.

    It’s New Year’s Eve, DRJ, not April Fools. Remember the DOJ explaining about voter fraud as a high priority, and the AUSAs who got sacked weren’t excited enough about it? Were you in on those threads with anything like comment 4?

    In areas that didn’t require voter ID how could this possibly be true?

    The poll watchers in my precinct know me by sight. Plus, if Mickey Mouse shows up—remember how worried the GOP was about that?—they can challenge him.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (bdbb6a)

  7. Andrew,

    Federal and state officials can prosecute voter fraud but voter registration procedures are administered by the state and local governments through their secretaries of state and elections divisions.

    DRJ (09f144)

  8. Err, no.

    Comment by nk

    At least read your own links. If a driver has multiple licenses do you really think the driver will hand over the different licenses? More likely he or she will discontinue using the one he handed to the cops.

    The type of action that the driver’s home state will take will vary from state to state.

    voiceofreason (d52499)

  9. Already sent back my absentee ballot which I got a couple of days before Xmas. Voter registration for the primaries deadline was a day or so back here in Florida.

    An issue that concerns me that is just asking for voter fraud to happen is some states moving to same day registration.

    Imagine the situation of 3 adjacent states coming to a join in a 3 way mashup. If there is little or no documentation requirement you vote at one state when the polls open maybe drive 100 miles and vote in the second state and then 150 to the 3rd and also vote there.

    Without cross state line checking it would be an issue.

    One we have been trying to get the state here to work on is checking to see if dual voting is occurring for example if a NY snowbird who owns a house up there votes in NY but also via a second home here or an RV Park setup votes here absentee or at the polls. No cross check result in two votes.

    Same for any state line jumper if checks are not done.

    One retired person bragged to me one time that they rented houses in 6 different states for a month just to get a utility bill for proof of residence and actually did 6 absentee ballots plus a home state vote.

    It would seem that the only way it could be picked up is for the national parties or a 3rd party data merchant get all the after election voter registration lists and cross check them all for dupes.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  10. DRJ, your reply is not really relevant. The Bush DOJ went to the point of firing AUSAs who didn’t concoct in-person voter fraud prosecutions. The Republican Congress and the fake American Center for Voting Rights even held hearings on the matter. And it was always about in-person voter fraud and the need for Voter ID that would be hard for poor people to obtain!

    I repeat the earlier question: why wasn’t the Republican Party interested in absentee ballot fraud? I don’t think you can answer that by referring to State/Federal jurisdictional issues.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (bdbb6a)

  11. Andrew,

    I’m not going to debate the USA firings here. That’s WLS & Patterico’s turf so feel free to take it up with them if you wish. However, please note I disagree with your wild statement that “The Bush DOJ went to the point of firing AUSAs who didn’t concoct in-person voter fraud prosecutions.”

    My point was the importance of the voter registration process and specifically the role state and local governments play in that process. If government is careful about voter registration, it makes it easier to identify fraudulent votes. Your focus on the federal government’s role treats vote fraud as a substantive, after-the-fact problem to be fixed. That is a valid part of the system but my answer, and the answer of other conservatives, is to also implement state and local voter registration procedures that aim to prevent or minimize vote fraud in the first place.

    DRJ (09f144)

  12. and I am pointing out for the third (and final time on this thread) that the onerous procedures the conservatives wish to implement are always targeted at alleged in-person voter fraud by poor people (of which real life examples are few and far between; see previous links) and never at absentee ballot fraud by Republican-leaning suburbanites.

    Unlike many liberals or even conservatives, I would be OK with a National ID card, but not when it, or anything like it, is being implemented in such obvious bad faith.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (bdbb6a)

  13. How is it onerous to require someone to prove citizenship?

    DRJ (09f144)

  14. Unlike many liberals or even conservatives, I would be OK with a National ID card, but not when it, or anything like it, is being implemented in such obvious bad faith.

    I would think that using a national ID card in most situations accomplishes a couple of things:
    (1) Reduces identity theft
    (2) Increases safety on the roadways
    (3) If used uniformly reduces the temptation to profile, a dubious method at best.
    (4) Reduces voting fraud

    voiceofreason (d52499)

  15. AJL – What evidence do you have of a lack of concern by Republicans over absentee voting? Could you provide some specifics please.

    Your recitation of the tripe about disenfranchising poor and minority voters with a registration system does not improve with repetition. Is there proof or just guesswork? In the Indiana case under appeal, my understanding is that the opponents of the ID system have been unable to produce a single disenfranchised voter. Do you have different information. We also have documented evidence of organizations such as ACORN registering ficticious people to vote in several states. Whether such people voted in person or by absentee ballot over the years is pretty much an open question I would think at this point, so spare me your complaints.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  16. VOR #8,

    I should know better than to try to discuss anything with you, but do this if you think you’re right. Go to any state adjoining Louisiana and try to apply for a driver’s license wihtout surrendering your Louisiana driver’s license. Once they put your name, date of birth and social security number in their computer you will be arrested for fraud and perjury.

    nk (c87736)

  17. Daleyrocks, is there any evidence that any of the absurd registrations ACORN made was ever used by “Mickey Mouse” to cast an in-person ballot?

    No.

    If you read the links I have supplied, you will see that there definitely is a problem with registration fraud. There is no evidence that this devolves into fraudulently-cast ballots.

    Statistics on why the Indiana GOP loves Voter ID in the absence of evidence of fraud here.

    If you can show me where the DOJ, Republican Party, or their aforementioned front group American Center for Voting Rights, showed any interest in absentee ballot fraud, go ahead. My claim is that they did not do so. I dare you to refute it.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (bdbb6a)

  18. And it was always about in-person voter fraud and the need for Voter ID that would be hard for poor people to obtain!

    Oh, the poor poor. Damned ID cards are just so hard to get! Every other government service known to man, not so much.

    Yawn.

    Pablo (99243e)

  19. Andrew,

    The registration articles and issues you raise would be addressed, if not solved, by instituting better procedures at the state and local level instead of relying on partisan voter registration drives. That’s the point I’ve tried to make and that’s why the California League of Women Voters recommended in 2006 that people register with election officials and make sure they bring their drivers license as required by state law:

    Trudy Schafer with the League of Women Voters suggested people registering take out their driver’s license and make sure all the information matches exactly.

    “So if you have a driver’s license or a California ID, have it with you, put that number down. That’s the single most important thing,” Schafer said.

    I also think voters should have to provide proof of citizenship since you must be a citizen to vote. (A drivers license might be proof of citizenship depending on the requirements of state law.) Virtually all states simply take the potential voter’s word for it that s/he is a citizen, and we have no meaningful way to tell if that type of fraud occurs.

    DRJ (09f144)

  20. If someone is going to file false registrations, they can also create false ID. This isn’t something Voter ID legislation can or would help in any way.

    Fraud also occurs when someone votes in his/her old district to avoid getting a jury duty summons. A U.S. passport is a legal form of proof in most Voter ID laws Republicans propose. Someone might register, live and vote 10 years in Oregon, move to another state, and return as often as they like to cast an unchallenged ballot. They would still be allowed to vote in their new state. Passports, as we know, list no address.

    Many states allow voters to present other forms of ID including recent utility bills, bank statements, or a paycheck. There’s little evidence of resulting wide-spread voter fraud. The biggest problem this country has is the fact that only a fraction of the population goes to the polls to vote.

    steve (0ff197)

  21. Steve,

    It’s hard to fabricate an identity and social security number that can survive verification through layers of government agencies. Simply because one person can falsify a document doesn’t mean we should assume everyone can do it.

    As for other types of vote fraud, we should try to stop that, too. I don’t see this as an either/or situation but having a valid registration database should help at every level.

    DRJ (09f144)

  22. AJL – Your arguments don’t hold water. If there isn’t a purpose behind widespread voter registration fraud, why does it keep occurring? Not finding a successful prosecution of fraudulent does not mean it has not occurred, its called proving a negative. Again, what is the purpose of the fraudulent registrations in the first place? What are your theories? Why do democrats constantly resist purging voting rolls of ineligible voters?

    Pointing to as recent as a decade old study saying poor people and minorities are less likely to have ID’s is laughable as support for your contention. The idea is to get them state supplied ID to improve the integrity of the process.

    On absentee ballors, if you can point me to states where republicans have completely abdicated the rulemaking process governing such voting to democrats, you might have a chance of persuading me the GOP doesn’t care about the issue. I’ll wait for your evidence since it is your contention.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  23. As for other types of vote fraud, we should try to stop that, too.

    But we don’t seem to want a national registration database. One state doesn’t inform another’s Secretary of State or county Board of Elections when a newcomer registers. Yet state agencies cross-reference for driver’s licenses to make sure no one carries more than one.

    steve (71fea1)

  24. Uniform national registration is a separate issue from what I’m talking about. I’m not against a national database but it doesn’t do much good if the database you have is corrupted because there are no standards for initial registration.

    DRJ (09f144)

  25. I have lived in six states. Not once was anything less than proof of age, citizenship and domicile required to register.

    steve (71fea1)


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