SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Re: Consolidation Voter Fraud
By Dave Kiffer


November 08, 2006
Wednesday PM

The problem with asserting fraud or conspiracy is that it pre-supposes there is at least some "intelligence" at work behind what is happening. More often the case it is just stupidity or laziness.

If you ask the state government about mail-in absentee ballots, you get two answers. One, we are told, the state has a lot of experience on these ballots. Two, but not in larger communities so Ketchikan is a bit of a guinea pig on this one.

But that doesn't excuse the sorry way Ketchikan consolidation ballots are being handled by the state. And make no mistake, the decision to do this ballot as a mail in was the state's not the borough's.

First of all, the use of the standard "absentee" envelope is obviously confusing. The state apparently has a big box of envelopes somewhere that say "absentee." Since the state is supposedly saving so much money with this mail in election, it should have spent some of that money on some new envelopes that read "Ketchikan Consolidation." Just a suggestion.

Second, what is up with requiring voters to get someone else to sign the form for them? Is the state really that concerned about massive "fraud" in the election? It's been my experience that the more steps you put into any process, the more likely someone will drop out of it. Just let folks fill out the ballot and get on with it. We're getting a little old to have to go find our "mommies" to sign things for us. Our own signatures are good enough at traditional polls, they should be good enough on mail in votes.

Third, no return postage? And to make things worse it's not just one stamp, it's one and a half (more or less) stamps. Is it that hard to send out prepaid mailers? No, marketers do it all the time. Does it cost a little money? Yes. And since the state wants to recycle envelopes from other elections, apparently the real issue is not making voting easier (the stated reason) but to make it cheaper for the state. In some places requiring voters to spend any "money" to vote used to be call a "poll" tax and was ruled illegal by the courts because it was used to prevent disadvantaged people from voting.

If you ask the state, it will tell you that if you don't want to mail the ballot back in, you can save a stamp and drop it off at the borough or city clerk offices. That's fine, but it doesn't say that in any of the materials that arrived in my "absentee" envelope.

The bottom line is that voting should be as easy as possible for members of the public. While the consolidation "absentee" ballot doesn't accomplish that, I don't think it was intentional (other than the saving money part). I would hope that after hearing our complaints, the Division of Elections will make adjustments the next time they do this.

But if you really feel that someone on either side of the issue is trying to steal the election, then the one thing you can do to prevent that is to vote.

No matter how difficult they make, just vote.

That'll show them!

Dave Kiffer
Ketchikan, Alaska



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Ketchikan, Alaska