Vote By Mail in California
As a member of the California Democratic Party Voter Services Committee a question was posed to me about Mail in Voting and several myths that seem to be circulating. Here were the comments and questions:
“R Grace Rodriguez, the debate on mail-in voting has been entirely distorted. I am hoping that you can shed light and allow me to have a clearer picture.
1. Every Republican and Democrat I know do not object to mail-in voting as it has been done for years by those who apply for an absentee ballot.
2. If I am correct on the first point then it appears that the term “mail-in voting” is being peddled as Republicans are against and Democrat favor a greater voice from more Americans who have not voted in the past.
3. Sadly, it appears we have lost focus on expanding mail-in voting beyond absentee requests to a scale proposed by the governer whereas I understand it, every eligible voter will receive a form as you showed in your post. Is that correct or is it just registered, voters?
4. For me, I have objected to, other than absentee voting by mail, that has relaxed the rules on casting a ballot. Why?
A) Because decision-makers from both parties can selectively determine the location of polls to favor their political preferences.
B) Because extended days or “early” voting may no longer accurately reflect a voter who, by election day, wants to reconsider their vote based on unfolding events.
C) Extended voting or “early” voting has encouraged unprincipled zealots from both parties to influence and harvest ballots from voters in an effort to make the final vote tally favorable to their candidate or cause.
D) Mailing ballots to every eligible voter will further exponentially increase the ability of unscrupulous people, described in point ©, to contaminate the voting process.
E) Based on years of historical fact, our bureaucrats have already demonstrated their inability to execute a mass mailing accurately. Medicare, Medical, EDD, and Social Security checks are regularly duplicated and often times sent to addresses where someone has moved or is deceased.
F) After the State allowed propositions, it should require an educated and informed, electorate. Unfortunately, this is too often not the case as politicians and lobbyists do their best to manipulate and deceive the unknowledgeable voter.
G) Lastly, I was raised to believe that voting was one of America’s most precious privileges, passed down through the sacrifice and blood of millions. Therefore, this sacred right should be not viewed as an inconvenience but rather an honor. If someone does not understand this honor and take it seriously then it better they stay home.
I want to make sure points 1 thru 4 are accurate and to see how my West Hills neighbors, devoid of outside influencers, related to points A thru G.
Here was my response:
These comments only only apply to California. Lets be very clear. Mail in Ballots are ONLY being sent to REGISTERED VOTERS. To be Eligible you must REGISTER and have your identity verified. For most people to register to vote in California you need a California ID, a Social Security Number and you must provide date of birth. See www.RegisterToVote.CA.gov. That information will be used to obtain your signature from the DMV. You must also sign your ballot. The signatures are compared to authenticate your ballot. So it doesn’t matter if your ballot arrives in the mail or you hand deliver it.
It wont matter if 500 ballots from the same person are sent in , it wont matter if 20 000 ballots are stolen from mailboxes because unless they can match the signature to the DMV signature…. the vote wont be counted and only one valid vote will be counted. And now with Ballot Tracking you can have greater assurances that your ballot is received and counted. See SOS.CA.Gov/elections/ballot-status/wheres-my-ballot/
if you mail ballot in early and change your mind at the last minute you wont be able to change your vote. So please do not send it in until you are sure. In fact you can deliver your mail.in ballot on election day!
While ballot harvesting is perfectly legal, it is equally available to either party. The key is to drop your own ballot in the mail. Just say No to anyone taking control of your ballot.
Point D is not a valid point because only REGISTERED voters will receive the mail in ballot. The distinction of using the word “ELIGIBLE” voter is part of the propaganda being voiced by the people who are wanting less mail in voting. The research has shown that when more people vote, they vote democratic. Even Trump acknowledges this fact https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/30/trump-voting-republicans/
As to point E. . . death records and felony records issued by coroner’s office and dept of corrections are provided to the Sec. Of State who validates all elections under Section 303 of the Help America Vote Act which has implemented a single uniform centralized voter registration database connecting all 58 counties. So in case of death or moving even if two ballots sent out only the first one received will be counted and verified by signature cross checked with DMV.
Item F is about the Proposition process not the Voting process so wont discuss here. But your comment about having an informed electorate is the same argument used to only count 3/5ths of black voters so many years ago. It was racist and wrong then as it is discriminatory and violative of the very principle that all are created equal. Anyone concerned about having an informed electorate should then support free education through college to get the best voting electorate possible. It serves everyone’s interests to have free and available education to the highest level we can afford.
Item G presumes that the reason people don’t vote is because they don’t appreciate the privilege and the honor that it entails. But this excludes the idea that not voting is a political statement being made by some that there are no candidates worthy to be elected. . . . it presumes that people equally have access to voting where some people do not.
One reason people don’t vote is when the registration process is challenging. But registering online makes it easier! In other states its not so easy. But by far the biggest indicator whether people will vote or not. . . is whether they have a college degree or not. College graduates make more money, on average. They are more likely to look for information about politics. And they are more likely to have friends who vote. People without a college degree, he says, are less likely to seek out political information. They also are less likely to have friends who care about politics or talk about voting. Could this be why Bernie wanted more education available, and why Republicans and establishment democrats not so much? In college you learn about the value of the vote and how hard people fought to get that vote.
Finally apathy: “One of the things that makes the U.S. strange is that there’s a lot of elections,” says Burden. “We ask voters to make a lot of decisions.” Getting out to the polls can be a hassle. What’s more, learning about every single issue takes time. If people are asked to vote too often, or choose a position on too many subjects, they might just opt out of the whole process. “We have a complicated system and I think that produces fatigue,” See https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/4-reasons-why-many-people-dont-vote
Hopefully that addresses the issues you have had about vote by mail. There is absolutely no reduction in the vetting of voters in California. I would hope that more states adopt our vote by mail process to require verification of Identity which is not the same as requiring an ID to vote. . . . other documents can prove identification which is discussed at the secretary of state’s web-site.