Safe, Secure, Trustworthy Voting – It Is Here for the Taking

Three States Show Us How It Is Done – Russians Be Damned!

We Know What Works

We have talked before about how Washington and Oregon have responsive, secure, and low-cost voting systems. This happened because Democrats and Republicans decided this was important. They worked together to make it happen. Voter turnout  is unimaginably higher than in other states. Stacey Abrams is continuing that effort in Georgia and nationwide, as are others.

Add to that list of states doing it right, Colorado, a state whose 2018 elections were models of effectiveness in every measurable area. It is a great story. I found a terrific synopsis of what they are doing right through the OZY news service. Take a few moments to read it; you will be glad you did. And maybea bit inspired.

One of the things all these states have in common is the use of the lowly paper ballot. I resisted this retrograde tool for a long time; I was wrong. This is key to a successful system at this point. Another fine article I ran across, from the always reliable Brookings Institution, (OK, I am biased. I had a fellowship there once upon a time) explains very nicely why paper is king. Enjoy:

This Is Not Complicated

Both of these articles make key points we should all take to heart:

  • Simple really is best. A paper ballot is low cost, easy to control, and not all that difficult to track. It is hard to forge or tamper with under any reasonable circumstance. 
  • The best systems do it all. They make registration easy, if not automatic. They make it easy to vote anytime, including the day you register, and make turning in a ballot both easy and secure. The system is from the ground up customer friendly, if I may borrow a business term that seems to fit here. 
  • States have no problem doing this when politicians decide it is important and the right thing to do. Compare that with so many state governments and legislatures dedicated to the opposite. They are only about power. They blithely destroy citizen confidence in democracy while doing so. Good leaders know how to get this done. 
  • This approach saves a TON of money. Imagine not buying expensive voting machines, not having countless polling sites staffed. All that frees up funds for better purposes, including voter registration and education.

What About YOUR State?

If your state is not doing any of this, you would do well to ask your legislators and political leaders why not. There is no debate at this point. The general system described herein works. It has been proven repeatedly to be secure, low-cost, and effective. People that have used it love it. Their turnout shows it.

We could be encouraging much more of this. We could be supporting its expansion. According to the most recent polls about 60% of Americans think voting security is an issue, including foreign interference and they want the federal government to do more about it. We would be doing more, except for legislation held up by Moscow Mitch McConnell. He has a lot of help from his senators who fail to demand action. Let’s hope the election system in their home states is secure enough to show them the door.

We have a few rights that are bedrock fundamental for a democracy. A trustworthy vote is pretty much at the top of that list.

      Bill Clontz

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