I just got my vote-by-mail ballot for the primaries here in Los Angeles County.
Why doesn’t everyone do this? The state of Washington has eliminated all other options. You vote by mail, or you don’t vote. This is the way it should be. Why? In my humble internet opinion, these are the big reasons:
- It’s cheaper for the states to send out ballots than to open hundreds of polling locations all over the place
- It’s easier for those in rural areas to vote
- It’s more accurate to count votes as they come in over the course of a couple weeks than all at once
- There’s less chance for voter fraud (which is almost non-existant anyway). Vote by mail systems use an identity check and a residential address check. You are sent a registration card weeks ahead of the vote, and the signature on that card is compared to the signature on the ballot. If they don’t match, the vote isn’t counted. The ballot cannot be forwarded to a new address, so the chances of anyone else getting their hands on your ballot, knowing what your signature looks like, and that person having the will to commit a federal crime are near-zero.
- It’s better for the candidates (and the constituents who watch TV or listen to the radio) to not place such an advertising emphasis on one single day. From the media side, it also means more steady advertising revenue over weeks, rather than a big push in the days leading up to Election Day.
- It would eliminate the push to make Election Day a federal holiday, which would cost employers millions in additional holiday pay.
All this hippy-dippy vote by mail stuff would simply mean more people can vote. This will probably never become the norm, because there is one particular political party that does not want more people to vote. When more people vote, they tend to lose.
But one can dream.