Many moons ago, driven by crushing career boredom, I taught myself basic computer and database programming. Even with my limited skills, I’m 100% confident I could build a database that would collect a person’s name and address, match those data against a voter registration database and allow absentee internet voting while prohibiting people from voting more than once. Such a database might take a couple of afternoons to build.
Instead of that simple process, or any other simple process, we’re confronted with the following when trying to make sure we can vote from the road:
- Request an absentee ballot application (not a ballot, but an application for a ballot) by mail.
- Make sure the application, that looks remarkably similar to an IRS Form 1040, is filled out perfectly. “Each year a number of applications are returned due to errors or omissions.”
- Mail your application to the Early Voting Clerk. “Applications mailed to a different address will be rejected.”
- Applications received before or after the 53 day window from September 7, 2012 through October 30, 2012 will be rejected.
- Find somewhere other than your permanent address to have the actual ballot mailed. “Your ballot must be mailed to an address outside the county.” If you’re like most people who only have one address in the county where you vote, tough titties. If the reason you’re requesting an absentee ballot is because you’re traveling and don’t plan to spend two months waiting at a single out-of-county address for your ballot to arrive, tough titties.
- Hope your absentee ballot finds you at your out-of-county location before election day
- Sign the ballot exactly as it appears on your application. Signatures that don’t appear to match will cause the ballot to be rejected.
- Mail the form back and hope your vote is counted by people clearly more interested in rejecting your ballot than counting it.
This isn’t just needlessly complicated. It seems deliberately complicated, as if the intention isn’t to weed out fraudulent votes but to make voting remotely as difficult and as infrequent as possible. It’s hard to understand what other reason could be given for a policy of rejecting ballot applications simply because they were mailed to the wrong state office address. Have they never heard of interoffice mail forwarding?
We’re not exactly sure what long-term travelers like us did to either political party to have our votes suppressed in this way, but we’re now more committed then ever to make sure our votes are counted; even if that means driving back and casting a ballot old-school style.
Now we just need to figure out if anyone responsible for this nonsense is up for re-election.