Recently, US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sponsored legislation for national mail in voting. Oregon was the first to have that system and is held up by the Democrats as the model system. Most County Clerks are proud of Oregon elections believing controls in place are working reasonably well. One has to wonder then why Democrats in this legislative session have introduced so many bills to change our voting laws.
Election integrity skeptics are concerned about attempts to reduce methods of verification that the voter is legal, is registered at only one address, has a valid signature on file, is living, is a citizen, completed their ballot themselves, is of a legal age to vote and that the voter desires to participate in the elections system.
HB 2499, co-sponsored by Representatives Julie Fahley (D-Eugene) and Jack Zika (R-Redmond), would allow a third party to electronically submit a voter’s signature. The potential for fraud outweighs any claims of convenience.
Three bills HB 2681, HB 2685 and HB 2499 would transfer some County Clerk responsibilities to the Secretary of State. That would reduce local control and make it possible to concentrate power in one office, SOS, to commit fraud affecting the entire state. That is more than hypothetical as we witnessed in battleground states in the last national election.
HB 2679 would let 17-year old’s vote in a primary if they would reach 18 years of age by general election. Attempts to lower voting age to 16-years are subtle and suspect.
HB 2684 attempts to handicap the initiative petition process by not letting the petitioner make the argument.
HB 2921 would have the public treasury subsidize campaign donations 6 to 1, a clear abuse of public funds.
Several bills, HB 2658, HB 2685 and HB 2686 would have ranked choice replace the current practice of parties choosing their contender in the primary election for a runoff in the general election. That would disenfranchise the entire party system.
Bills to extend elections beyond the second Tuesday of November in the form of HB 2687 and HB 2226 would recognize the postmark date in lieu of election date. Delaying results creates opportunities for fraud.
HB 2227 would ban photos of candidates in voter’s pamphlets. The subtle message is that minorities are targets of discrimination when identified by their picture. Election results don’t bear out the claims that votes for minorities are suppressed without government protections.
HB 2287 would treat farmers different than other voters in annexation matters.
Attempts to control the campaign funding process beyond the extensive laws on the books are manifest in HB 2238, HB 2680, HB 2923 and HB 3076. The reasoning for some of these isn’t clear and at times are at cross purposes. All of the above describe changes proposed by Democrats. They would increase Democrats power but not benefit voters.
Republicans have proposed three bills on elections. HB 3097 would allow for bigger field signs in the two months leading up to an election. HB 2651 would place more responsibility on the voter in registering while giving the voter more time to act on those responsibilities. HB 2022 would have the District Attorney rather than the County Clerk interpret the Constitutional wording of petitions. The Multnomah County D.A. released 666 0f 742 arrested for riots in Portland. The Clerk can always seek legal advice beyond the D.A.’s office if necessary. The Clerk may be the better arbiter of ballot wording.
What would elections look like if we errored on the side of assuring integrity? Some perennial suggestions follow, that won’t be found in the above legislation.
- Reinstate paper ballots
- Reinstate voting and vote counting as public acts
- Reinstate the precinct as the place where voters cast their ballots and where the ballots are counted
- Allow candidates to choose areas to audit the vote
- Mandate that the election process be recorded with video and audio equipment
- Publicly and immediately post precinct vote results
- Mandate the cleaning up of all voter registration lists
- Eliminate same-day voter registration
- Put in place law to protect evidence
- Punish fraud and end early voting
- Require an absolute chain of custody for ballots
- Repeal laws that allow for unattended drop boxes for ballots and laws allowing for no-excuse absentee balloting
- Ballots should have verifying features
- Make it easier to recruit election clerks
- Don’t allow government employees or political hacks to run the polls
- Require paper voter sign-in sheets
Why don’t we ever see any of these suggested in super majority Oregon? Could it be they would threaten the party in power? Who is the election system intended to serve?
Date: 2021-02-17 11:10