Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Your Ballot has arrived! At least it should have...

Cate Blanchett as  Lady Galadriel in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

 In addition to the official directions printed above, I am reprinting some advice (albeit with some edits) from a post I did four years ago on filling out your ballot and the insecurity of the vote by mail process:

  1. Don't spill any food or water on your ballot. The machine or process will kick those out.
  2. Don't spill any blood on it (yes, I saw a record indicating a ballot was rejected for this...)
  3. If you have the time, bring the ballot directly to the Whatcom County Elections desk or downtown ballot box. 
The election office may scoff at me for this last insight. But the chain of security that leads from your voting drop or your post office to your election office may not be secure. This issue is known as the "Chain of Custody" problem and it is well-discussed on the internetEmblazoned right there on the front of your sealed voter envelope is your unique VoterID and PrecinctID, both accessible by anyone who orders (for $10) the voter database on CD. Here is part of my line in the voter database and a few of the corresponding fields. The VoterID and PrecinctID have been bolded by me:

RegistrationNumber VoterID FirstName MiddleName LastName...ResidenceCity ResidenceState ResidenceZipCode PrecinctID
253876     253876 Ryan M Ferris ... Bellingham WA  98227-0444   208 ....

Now here is the front of my 2014 "Vote By Mail" envelope:

Strangely enough, last election actually did bring a confirmed ballot drop theft in Whatcom County.  I can't find any historical links to this event, but it caused quite a bit of alarm among some Democrats that I know. I have noted in several posts that I think the paucity of turnout in a number of precincts may have been evidence of undetected ballot box theft. So my advice above still holds true for me.  Other excellent advice on your mail in ballot I found here on a post from Kitsap River on Daily Kos:
Things to avoid with your mail-in ballot:
Setting it aside once you've filled it out; this often leads people to think that it's been mailed, and discover it too late.
Setting it aside before you've filled it out in a place where you won't see it every day. Same result as above.
Waiting until the evening of election day to turn it in. The deadline is 8pm. At exactly 8:00:01pm, it is too late to vote.
Not finding out where to turn in your ballot. It's as simple as calling your county auditor. I've listed the phone numbers for the elections divisions of all the county auditors in the state below. Also, anybody who calls you for GOTV (and they will) will know where you can turn it in.
Mailing it on election day. This is the most important one to avoid of all. You'd think that if you got it to your local post office by 5pm on election day, that it would be postmarked that day. However, in many counties (including Kitsap, where I live), the postmarking has been consolidated to a larger city facility. In the case of South Kitsap, that is Tacoma. If you mail your ballot at any time on election day in South Kitsap, your ballot will be postmarked the next day and therefore be too late. Your vote will not count. This is happening all over the state.
So get that ballot in before election day to make sure it counts!

No comments: