December 06, 2006

Wyden: 15 Reasons "Vote by Mail" is the Right Direction for America

Washington , D.C. - As election officials scramble to sort out voting irregularities and other problems in yesterday's elections, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden renewed his call to pass his proposal to simplify the way Americans vote. Wyden is one of the nation's foremost advocates of "Vote by Mail," Oregon's very successful electoral process that has made Oregon synonymous with high voter turn-out and hassle-free elections. Wyden introduced legislation last September to provide funds to help states adopt Vote by Mail election systems.
Today, Wyden offered 15 examples of why Vote by Mail is the right direction for the American people.
1. In Denver, CO hundreds of voters were turned away when the database of registered voters crashed— with Vote by Mail voters have as many as three weeks to cast their vote and contact voting officials with questions and concerns.
2. In Shaker Heights, OH, voters were turned from the polls when electronic voting machines failed to work—Vote by Mail eliminates polling problems by eliminating the need for polls.
3. Nearly a quarter of precincts in Indianapolis resorted to paper ballots when poll workers couldn't figure out how to connect optical scan voting machines with the new touch-screen models— Vote by Mail eliminates problems created when poll workers are unfamiliar with voting machine technology. In addition, Vote by Mail can generate a huge cost savings— Oregon has reduced election-related costs by 30 percent
4. In Gwinnet, County, GA, a poll worker unlawfully refused to allow a Hispanic woman to vote without ID— Because Vote by Mail is typically overseen at the county level, in coordination with the Secretary of State, it helps ensure that every voter is treated the same under the law regardless of race, creed or ethnicity.
5. In Kane County, IL, poll workers, unfamiliar with the new electronic voting machines, were unable to open polls on time—Vote by Mail makes voting convenient for hourly workers and others whose schedules make it difficult to wait in line to vote.
6. In Johnson County, Kansas poll workers used hand lotion to prevent the county's touch-screen voting machines from spitting out cards—With Vote by Mail, malfunctioning technology won't disrupt Election Day.
7. In Clermont Country, OH, Republican Congresswoman Jean Schmidt struggled with an optical scan voting machine that repeatedly rejected her ballot —With Vote by Mail, voters no longer have to struggle with unreliable voting machine technology .
8. In Missouri, poll workers were demanding photo identification despite a court ruling barring the practice— Because Vote by Mail eliminates the need for polling places, it helps ensure the uniform application of voting laws.
9. Voters in Washington State received phone calls instructing them to vote at the wrong precinct—Vote by male eliminates confusion by sending ballots directly to voters, which are then either dropped in the mailbox or delivered to secure drop boxes at libraries, county offices and other convenient locations.
10. In Virginia, the FBI is investigating reports of voter intimidation— A 2003 study of Oregon voters showed that groups who are most vulnerable to coercion—like the elderly— prefer Vote by Mail.
11. In Tuscon, Arizona, armed vigilantes were reportedly stopping and questioning Hispanic voters—Vote by Mail allows voters to cast their ballot in the privacy of their homes without fear of intimidation.
12. In Pittsburgh, PA, a registered voter was refused a provisional ballot after being told that her change of address had not been properly processed— With Vote by Mail, if a voter does not receive a ballot, they have three weeks—rather than one day—to correct the situation with voting officials.
13. In Allegheny County, PA, malfunctioning machines and an inadequate number of provisional ballots generated long lines causing many voters to leave without casting a vote— Vote by Mail bumps every voter to the front of the line, guarantees that voters can cast their votes and gives them confidence that their votes will be counted.
14. In Colorado, voters with Hispanic last names are reported to have received phone calls threatening arrest if they attempted to vote— Vote by Mail allows eligible voters to cast ballots in the privacy of their own homes helping to ensure that no one is unfairly disenfranchised.
15. A polling location in New Mexico was forced to turn voters away after having received 150 ballots instead of 1,500— Under Vote by Mail every registered voter gets their ballot.