Thursday, February 08, 2007

Getting creative with voting in Ulster County

This could be our first time linking the Kingston Daily Freeman, which this morning ran a story about how some lawmakers are considering the implementation of mail-in voting in Ulster County.

In the wake of recent revelations about the timeline for certification of new electronic voting machines, some in Ulster County want to switch to a system similar to that in Oregon. In 1998, voters in Oregon passed an initiative that introduced postal voting — registered voters are sent a ballot 18 to 14 days before each election, which they fill out and return in a signed “secrecy envelope” via mail or drop off at any county election office or designated drop site.

The advantages of voting by include lower election administration costs and easier access to the franchise by disabled voters. One downside is the possibility of voter fraud, which could in theory be more problematic in an all-mail system than with absentee ballots.

But the biggest impediment of all to mail-in voting in Ulster County (or really anywhere in New York)? It is likely illegal and possibly unconstitutional. The state constitution only provides for absentee ballots by mail, and voting machines are required by state Election Law.

While the push for postal voting Ulster County is unlikely to succeed, we do appreciate the creativity and encourage all New Yorkers to get involved in election reform decision-making.

Categories: General, Voting

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is an update on this post. At the July Ulster County Legislature session, the legislature voted to petition the NY Board of Election to let Ulster County do a test of Vote-by-mail in the Sept. 18, 2007 primary. The actual resolution:

Posted by Gary Bischoff, Ulster County Legislator, contact through