Mail-in ballots should be a choice not a mandate

Ease of voting lessens safeguards and ballot integrity

Do you like the feeling of dropping your ballot in a secure ballot box at your polling place?  Many of us do. We can almost hear “God Bless America” playing in our heads as push the ballot through the slot.

That long-standing tradition will become as passé as glove compartment maps and White Out in Maricopa County as soon as next year if the newly elected Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has his way. Fontes has announced his intention to mandate mail-in ballots in time for the 2018 statewide elections — eliminating polling places, poll workers and security.

Democrat Fontes, who won the office by 1 percentage point, describes the issue as a cost and time saving mechanism. Others view the grand scheme differently, expressing concerns about ballot security, including ballot harvesting, and coercion. There is also the real problem of non-citizen participation in our elections.

The guarantee of secure elections is a fundamental expectation of each and every voting citizen. We should accept nothing less

March 2016, Seeing Red AZ posted How secure is your mail-in ballot? It included several links that expose the very real crimes associate with voter fraud — including ballot harvesting.

Last November, just days before the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated Arizona’s ban on “ballot harvesting.” Read more in SCOTUS blog. Previously, the County Recorders and Secretary of State refused to stop the fraudulent practice.

How much easier and more open to fraud could voting be?  Fontes indicates that any voter who is eligible to vote in local elections — though they’ve never previously requested or received a mail-in ballot need not do anything to participate. All registered voters will automatically receive a ballot. Voters can register online. 

Fontes is quoted as saying, “The old system, (it) is time, in my mind, to move to the side,” I don’t know anybody that uses a horse and buggy today either.”

Fortunately Fontes is not the sole determiner of how the election system plays out. The state legislature will need to amend state law and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has the responsibility to authorize such a major shakeup of our elections. Then there are those pesky voters who prefer to cast their ballot in person, and have reason to distrust a system that lacks oversight.

Following the retirement of longtime Elections Director Karen Osborne, Fontes is conducting a nationwide search for a replacement, rather than promoting from within the office that functions in tandem with the Recorder’s Office.

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11 Responses to Mail-in ballots should be a choice not a mandate

  1. Maggie says:

    Voter integrity should be Adrian Fontes’ single concern, but obviously isn’t.

    This convoluted quote from Fontes makes me wonder if English is his second language: “The old system, (it) is time, in my mind, to move to the side,” I don’t know anybody that uses a horse and buggy today either.”

    It reminds me of the lyrics to an old song translated from Polish or Pennsylvania Dutch, “Throw Mamna from the train, a kiss, a kiss.” It was intended to be funny. Fontes is serious.

  2. State Delegate says:

    Register to vote online, ballot comes to your home. What are the chances this is a well informed voter when they have made no effort to actively engage in our most treasured civic duty?

    I remember when a doctor’s certification of inability to leave home was what was required to engage in what was then called “absentee” voting. A deputy registrar would arrange a time to come to your residence and witness that you voted and not another in your stead.

    Deputy Registrars, unpaid party volunteers who took yearly training courses given by the county, also had the duty of registering voters. It was not done at the MVD office or other locations with no oversight. Democrat and Republican Parties each had registrars in most precincts. I was one for years.

  3. Vince says:

    This sounds like the leftwing political agenda at work rather than looking out for the integrity of the vote in Maricopa County. By that I mean ALL votes, not just the ones Adrian Fontes cares about.

  4. Saguaro Sam says:

    Maricopa County was the fastest growing county in the United States in 2016, for both domestic migration and international migration, per the U.S. Census bureau.

    At the same time, Cook County, Illinois (Chicago); Baltimore City, Maryland, and the county in Michigan where Detroit is located saw the biggest exodus of population.

    Today, the New York Post has an article about the “alarming rate” at which people are pulling up stakes in NYC.

    All of these places are liberal bastions. If we get even a small number of these people, it spells trouble.

    Obama and his minions are still hard at work. They will not stop until they condemn every US citizen to a life of poverty and government control.

  5. Conservative Since Birth says:

    A way to turn Arizona blue – as is their plan. Voter fraud never looked so easy.
    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2017/03/31/maricopa-county-lose-all-its-polling-places-2018/99870956/

    Fontes (a Democrat) will be at the next Republican meeting – April 24th Monday at 7 P.M. Anyone can attend and ask questions.

    • Army Of One says:

      Thanks for the info, but I’d like more. Which Republican meeting, and where? There are district meetings all over the county.

      • Conservative Since Birth says:

        Oops.
        LD1 Meeting Reminder: 7pm April 24, 2017 at Desert Hills Community Church, 34835 N. 7th St., Phx. 85086

  6. Bill Beard says:

    With all due respect to Mr. Fontes and those who advocate for mail in voting they are forgetting a critical component to the voting process. The Right to vote is the cornerstone of our representative form of government. ALL of our laws are based on the principle that at some point along the way those that are governed have a say in what those laws are or who decides what laws will be put in place. Voting in person tells the government who is in charge.

    The idea of voting must always include the restoration of the balance between the governed and those chosen to lead. Placing a ballot in an envelope in the blue box on the corner forever separates the two. When anyone votes at their neighborhood polling location a number of critical cultural and democratizing actions take place. You say to your neighbors that regardless of the outcome this system in which we are participating is a system I support. I may not always like the results but the alternative is something too many have died to protect.

    The second action to my mind is the more fundamental action that must always be protected. When you vote at that polling location you the citizen are there in person to remind that government official that it is the citizen that is and always will be ‘in charge’. Those that would disconnect this action are gutting the very idea of representative government. Each and every step we take as voters that distances ourselves from the idea that we are in charge diminishes the sacrifices of those that have gone before us to gain and preserve the very Right to Vote.

    How many wars were fought to bring the basic Right to Vote (on formal battle fields or battle lines across from fire hoses and barking dogs)? Visit a cemetary with the graves of men and women who died for their country. Visit the Civil Rights monuments that speak to the valor of those who risked everything to secure the franchise for others. If they could speak to you today would any of them say it’s ok to mail it in?

    Voting will always be a personal matter for each of us. But it is also a responsibility to secure ALL the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. Fundamental to all is the idea that it IS We the People that must remain in charge. We must never sacrifice liberty for the sake of convenience. To paraphrase Dr. Franklin… if we do so perhaps we deserve neither.

  7. Election Geek says:

    I think you are all misunderstanding the process. From what I read, Maricopa County will still have secure voting centers where you can drop off your ballot or bring your mailed ballot and vote it right there in person.

    • Matt DeGennaro says:

      What I read is a very few “voting centers” will be available for those who mismark their ballots and want a new one.

      You might be confusing the options that were previously available with the overhaul Fontes wants to put into effect.

  8. Bill Beard says:

    What should trouble all is the casual way that so many dismiss concerns about mail in balloting including Mr. Fontes.