It is Time to Bring Voting in Arizona and the United States into the Twenty First Century

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Photo from KTAR

As Blog for Arizona Founder Michael Bryan stated in his March 15 piece on Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes taking the initiative on sending mail-in ballots to Valley Residents so they could avoid going to polling centers during the Coronavirus:

“Maybe this crisis will have the silver lining of making the need for voting registration reforms more immediate to Arizona’s legislature.”

Since that piece, other issues across the country due to the Coronavirus have prompted suggestions that reforms were needed to fully take the voting process into the Twenty-First Century. These included:

  • Ohio Governor Mike Devine closing polling locations hours before they were supposed to open.
  • Polling Judges not showing up and equipment issues in Illinois.

Lousiana and Georgia had already, because of the virus, postponed their primaries to the beginning of summer.

Furthermore, columnist Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic has pointed out that the drive to get written signatures for popular ballot initiatives like Outlaw Dirty Money and Invest in Ed 2.0 may suffer because people are not going to public venues to sign the petitions.

It is time for the nation’s local, state, and national leaders to strongly consider universal mail-in or online voting/petition signing.

This would not be a major shift for significant parts of the country as Colorado, Washington, and Oregon already has All-Mail in Elections.

Other states like Arizona, Florida, and California allow early voting by mail or the same day as the person drops off their ballot at the poll location.

Moving forward, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden have proposed the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020.

This legislation, as written in a joint Washington Post column by them, would:

“Help election officials meet this pandemic head-on. Our legislation will guarantee every voter a secure mail-in paper ballot and help states cover the cost of printing, self-sealing envelopes, ballot tracking, and postage.”

Leaders in states like Kansas and Maryland have already, because of the virus, moved to shift their primaries and go to all mail-in balloting.

It is time for every state in this country to provide the option for all voters to mail in their ballots or, eventually, vote on-line after all cybersecurity safeguards are satisfied. It should not be necessary for voters to stand on long lines waiting to vote anymore.

State Leaders should also make it easier for initiatives to get on the ballot by allowing voters to electronically sign petitions online.

If online signatures are good enough to secure candidates’ place on the ballot, it should be good enough for initiatives to provide more funds for schools or make campaigns reveal their dark money contributions.

This is the Twenty-First Century and it is unfortunate that a crisis like the Coronavirus may be the catalyst to finally bring the American voting process into it.

 

 

 

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This was supposed to be a reply to hienthoung56789. Why it ended up at the top of the thread is a mystery.

  2. Have you ever voted by mail? Been doing it for a few years now. Ballots are mailed to the voter along with two envelopes, an inner & an outer for mailing. After you fill in your ballot (which also leaves a paper trail) you place it in the inner envelope, sign & date the inner envelope, put the inner envelope in the mailing envelope & mail to the County Recorder. The County Recorder compares the signature on the inner envelope with the voter’s signature on file. If there is a discrepancy then the package is returned to the voter.

    Once you’ve submitted your ballot you can check with the County Recorder to see if your ballot was counted.

    So hienthoung56789, in light of the above, where is the opportunity for fraud? Please give a realistic answer and not some regurgitation from Fox News, OAN or wherever your get your info. BFA readers eagerly await your response.

  3. Voting should be done in person, hard copy, with proof of identity; the way the rest of the world -requires- it.

    Yes, a few exceptions should be made for those who can prove their need for an absentee ballot. Otherwise, this is just another push to create a system which can be gamed and manipulated. How many ballots find their way in file #13 just because the persons opening those ballots begins to realize ‘their’ side is losing?

    There is ample proof the current crop of IT & software programmers lean hard left. It is a trivial task to embed code which does vote flipping, shaving, or padding; and to hide algorithms which bias the actual tabulation.

    Computers should be used to -purge- dead, stale, and unverified voters, but liberals always object.

  4. +1. Hand-marked ballots hand-counted in public is the voting standard most countries already have and that the US should adopt. Registration should be automatic but otherwise allowed same day.

  5. Automatic voter registration, mail in ballots, sure, but not online voting or with a smart phone.

    I do IT to pay the bills, there is no way to make a system like that secure, no matter what the IT consultants say.

    At the very least I do a denial of service attack on the systems on election day and disrupt the election.

    At worst I gain access and have some fun with the count.

    Even if you could get local and state governments to fund a system that’s bullet proof right now (denial of service notwithstanding) it will need constant patching and upgrades and that would cost more in the long run than developing the system.

    It could not be something you roll out only during election years, it would be a full time job for dozens of people.

    And you can’t outsource the work, either, because you can’t trust the outsourcing company, even if it’s run by some all American boy scouts now, it will get bought out be people with less honest intentions.

    Even our financial institutions get hacked, and we have some of the best and brightest working for us.

    Focusing more on getting out the vote, the issues with Twitter and FB, and fighting the false advertising we see every election season would be money better spent.

    Overturning Citizens United would go a long, long way to helping.

    That’s not to say tech can’t be part of the effort, but if there’s no physical paper trail, it’s not secure.

    The end.

    On the other hand, I know lots of smart IT people, I’m happy to incorporate and start a company and take tens of millions from Arizona and whichever state or local government wants to pay me to pretend to make a system that will look sporty and give everyone a modern day look at us tech out feel, but it either won’t work, or will break down over time.

    But then again, there are already lots of companies that will do that.

Comments are closed.