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.