October 18, 2006
Mail Ballot Horror Show (XXI): Unpredictable postage costs
King County announced that absentee ballots are in the mail today. Because of an unexplained decision to increase the size and weight of the ballot, returning the ballot by mail will require extra postage (63¢ instead of 39¢) Some will object to the extra cost as a poll tax. I suspect that some number of voters will be inadvertently disenfranchised due to the extra instructions.
hat tip: Richard Pope
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at October 18, 2006
02:53 PM | Email This
This happened in SnoCo for the primary. If you mailed it with a 39 cent stamp, the county would cover the difference. If you mailed it at the post office, YOU had to pay the extra cost (in addtition to getting to and from the post office).
I don't know if this will be the same for the general.
2. When we go to "all Mail voting", how is this not a poll tax? Today, you have the option to go vote in person. However, if you don't have the vote in person option then you actually have to pay to vote. Isn't that a poll tax??? Won't this disenfranchize the homeless and poor????
3. You can go and drop it off without any postage, at any polling place. At least while there are polling places.
4. Speaking of voting, this is another reason to vote at the polling station if possible. I also recommend bringing a camera/video camera with you to the polling place. Ask to photograph your signature when you sign in and also photograph your ballot before you put it in the machine, maybe putting your tiny initials in a far corner. At a minimum, this will help keep those polling folks on their toes.
5. If this is such a great idea, then the gov should pay the postage and eliminate this impediment.
6. It is the very very least they could do with our tax money.
I asked our Clark County Auditor, Greg Kimsey, about this last month. He had a few good answers on this.
First, let's say turnout right now is 80% with postage paid by the voter. We start paying postage and turnout goes to 90%. But you're not just paying postage for the extra 10%, you're paying it for the whole 90%, and the increased cost equals something like $4 per vote for each additional voter you got. Is it worth it?
Second, you're going to pay that 39 cents either way. Either you buy the stamp or the government buys the stamp with your tax dollars. By paying it directly you eliminate the middleman. Although, aren't postage-paid reply envelopes cheaper to mail than regular mail? I don't know enough about postage rates to answer that.
I guess you can always drop it off in a drop box, they're still free.
8. A bit off topic yet related.
My mail box is barfing with political ads. Here's how to pay the postage for the ballots. It seems to me we have to pay extra for water over a certain limit during the summer. And after a certain point, the cost to consumers on electricity goes up as well as natural gas. All these prices are "government regulated" so to speak.
So why do candidates get postage costs reduced because they mail so much? How about their costs go up for mailing that crap and postal service use the funds to pay for postage on the ballots?
9. My Island County military ballot was postage paid (although the instructions inside requested a stamp)
10. My Island County military ballot was postage paid.
Let me be the first one to call bull-shit.
12. It is your choice to vote absentee, so maybe it is right for you to pay the postage. Vote by mail is different, the county should pay the postage both ways because you don't get a choice.
...and is the designer of this brilliant ballot postage bottleneck---fired yet?
i thought not. guess where he/she would be in private undistry after such a FUBAR?! one chance. one shot. like a sniper.
If you stopped cramming so many initiatives onto the ballots (repeal this tax, eliminate that regulation) you would be able to keep your meager $.24.
No, you have to go cram some initiative down everyone's throat and make sure your preferred party base turns out for the election. You cheer about that but then you bitch and moan about how much it costs to send in an absentee ballot. It's your own damn fault the price went up.
What a bunch of whiny cheapskates you are.
15. What a half-witted drooling idiot you are.
From Greg Palast's new article:
"-Absentee Ballots Uncounted. The number of absentee ballots has quintupled in many states, with the number rejected on picayune technical grounds rising to over half a million (526,420) in 2004. In swing states, absentee ballot shredding was pandemic. "
Now I don't know yet where he got his numbers from, but it certainly is an interesting read. And published right here in the Northwest.