Early voting in Maryland?

Early voting in Maryland?

There are 25 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Oct 9, 2008, titled Early voting in Maryland?. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

So, aside from 1st Congressional District residents who are deciding whether Republican Andy Harris or Democrat Frank M. Kratovil Jr.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Baltimore Sun.

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JMullen

Baltimore, MD

#1 Oct 9, 2008
Early voting simply has too much potential for abuse, fraud and other complications. If the state or the nation as a whole is worried about the convenienvce of letting someone vote close to where they work then let's have the elections on the weekend or make election day a federal holiday.

Since: Mar 08

Frederick

#3 Oct 9, 2008
Ballots are different in different districts, they are ignoring local elections and ballot issues, school boards etc.
Steve Gearhart

Randallstown, MD

#4 Oct 9, 2008
I largely agree with what he is saying, however, I feel that there should be early voting for seniors and the handicapped (which was the original arguement for early voting). 35 states have early voting laws and there are almost no cases of abuse reported. However, what is being proposed is logistically execessive.
JMullen

Pikesville, MD

#5 Oct 9, 2008
Steve Gearhart wrote:
I largely agree with what he is saying, however, I feel that there should be early voting for seniors and the handicapped (which was the original arguement for early voting).
I can understand that situation, and the individuals who may have these issues should be able to request a ballot for their district via the mail as long as they are on the voting registration lists. They can make their selections and return it by mail just like an absentee ballot.
imi

Baltimore, MD

#6 Oct 10, 2008
are you kidding?
Tommy

Chalfont, PA

#7 Oct 13, 2008
Early voting is simply another method of fixing elections. Don't the Dems ever stop? The corruption level in this state is high enough now.
Joe Collins

Reston, VA

#8 Oct 13, 2008
A.C.O.R.N. has been trying to rig enough elections. It is bad enough that you do not have to show I.D.. Do you think that if A.C.O.R.N. is willing to submit bogus registrations that they are not willing to bring anyone to the polls to vote in slots for people that have not voted yet. Happenned to my Dad.
Bobby

United States

#9 Oct 13, 2008
Whistle past" Schaller.

Since: Sep 07

Baltimore, MD

#11 Oct 15, 2008
Professor Schaller makes several good points against early voting, all of them valid. The proposal in Question 1 has the additional downside of placing the early voting locations in places not necessarily friendly to all voters in the county.
Let's look at some additional factors. Ballots are not finalized until forty-five days before the election, provided that the courts do not uphold one of the several challenges to questions and issues proposed for a ballot.
Each county, as has been pointed out by Marylander, does not use the same ballot. Even within an election district in Baltimore County, there will be more than one ballot. This is worse during Gubernatorial Primaries and General Elections. Adjacent election precincts can have different State senators and Delegates, different Congressional Representatives, different County Council Members and more. To have forty different ballots in a county is not unreasonable. This bill allows any registered voter to vote anywhere in the state! Good luck getting all of the ballots in the state to every county polling place.
Beyond the logistics of producing, printing, distributing and securing ballots, there are the voting equipment, staffing and security issues. Local boards currently pull hens teeth to get an adequate number of election judges and train them before and for one Election Day. This question requires judges for ten days before the election.
The real problem with this question lies in the other part of it.
Absentee ballots are the most fraud prone of all voting methods. It is bad that a person not entitled to vote can cast a vote and cancel the vote of a legally qualified citizen. Most people illegally present in the country do not want to call attention to themselves, but there are significant numbers in some precincts that will lie on the application regarding citizenship and vote.
The less risky way for those voters and those who would try to influence the election results through fraud is through the Absentee vote. Let me explain.
A person not entitled to vote registers fraudulently, and then requests an absentee ballot. They execute the ballot and mail it in, never having to risk physical apprehension or identification and challenge. They merely submit a copy of the driver's license issued by the MVA to thousands of aliens every day. But it can be worse.

Since: Sep 07

Baltimore, MD

#12 Oct 15, 2008
[Continued from Comment 8]
An organization of individuals could obtain a list of voters, active and inactive, from the local board of elections. They could then identify individuals who, by their history, are not likely to vote. The perpetrators of the fraud would then send in a change of address for each identified voter. When the change is effective, they send in a request for an absentee ballot and then vote that ballot. If the voter shows up at the precinct, the poll book will show that an absentee ballot was requested and the voter will vote a provisional ballot.
Absentee ballots are counted on the Thursday after the election. While that counting is going on, the Provisional Ballots are reviewed and entered into the election files. If an absentee ballot has been received, the provisional ballot is rejected. The fraudulent absentee ballot is counted. The real voter is confused. Confidence in the electoral system is undermined. Very few voters will have shown up and even fewer will challenge what happened. None of the votes will be changed because the systems ensure that each ballot counted is not identifiable with a voter.
What if such an effort only resulted in fifteen votes in each precinct? There are 219 precincts in Baltimore County. Fifteen fraudulent votes in each would result in 3285 votes.
There are about 487,570 registered voters in the county according to the State Election website as of October 1, 2008. If there is 75% turnout, 365,678 voters, one percent could be fraudulent. The numbers could easily be higher without raising an alarm.
In the past ten Presidential elections there have been, on average, five states with more than fifty electoral votes total that have been decided by less than one percent of the popular vote. Those numbers could have changed three of those elections.
I do not have actual vote totals for the states in those ten elections, but I think that several states might have turned on less than one percent of the vote. This is how an election can be stolen with the help of legislatures.
Instead of making it easy to register and vote, we should make it harder for frauds to be committed. Perhaps we can ask for new signatures every five years. Or, sit down for this one, requiring a photo id at the polls and with absentee ballots. Copies are easy to get. A person's agent can take the id to the local copy center, library, post office, or law office to get one.
States should spend the money on signature recognition software and hardware. It's on the market. It processes the applications and flags the signatures that don't match for a human to deal with. Currently, we rely on humans, very few of them and none of them trained in handwriting analysis, to catch this. The results are abysmal.
By the way, it is not the ACORN attempts to register Mickey Mouse and the NFL Cowboys that will result in fraudulent votes. It is the fictitious persons, registered by mail with fraudulent identification cards, made for just that purpose, which will defraud the voters.
Surf52

Baltimore, MD

#13 Oct 15, 2008
Tommy wrote:
Early voting is simply another method of fixing elections. Don't the Dems ever stop? The corruption level in this state is high enough now.
I thought they'd already pretty much perfected the process. Ask Governor Sauerbray.

“Trust, but Verify”

Since: Oct 08

Baltimore, MD

#14 Oct 15, 2008
"Four years later, there was an equally curious Osama bin Laden video that appeared during the final days of the presidential race."

That was very curious. Someone should ask Osama bin Laden why he release the video that day.

Other than that...I can't believe I'm typing this.....I agree with Dr. Schaller on most of his column. It's not called Election "Day" for nothing. He's right...a lot can happen in the waning days. Candidates can make that final convincing statement (Ronald Reagan, 1980). They can be busted in compromising positions (Bob Bauman, 1980). Audio tapes can find their way into the news (Tim Maloney, 2008).
Alley Kat

United States

#15 Oct 15, 2008
Rico13 wrote:
"Four years later, there was an equally curious Osama bin Laden video that appeared during the final days of the presidential race."
That was very curious. Someone should ask Osama bin Laden why he release the video that day.
Other than that...I can't believe I'm typing this.....I agree with Dr. Schaller on most of his column. It's not called Election "Day" for nothing. He's right...a lot can happen in the waning days. Candidates can make that final convincing statement (Ronald Reagan, 1980). They can be busted in compromising positions (Bob Bauman, 1980). Audio tapes can find their way into the news (Tim Maloney, 2008).
Bonafide verification is not always easy to find.

The Nose

Vienna, VA

#16 Oct 16, 2008
No once is FORCING anyone to vote before election day, just giving them an option. If I feel I have enough information, and I want to cast my vote two weeks early, why shouldn't I be able to vote at a time when I don't have to wait in line for two hours? If I don't feel like I have enough information, I have the choice of waiting until election day.
BennyFactor

Gwynn Oak, MD

#17 Oct 17, 2008
With the current length of the voting cycles as compared to the era when voting law was enacted, and because of the advances in information technology, October surprises about candidates are likely to shrink, making early voting less risky than it might have been pre-internet.

“Don't protect me from me!”

Since: Jul 07

Reston, VA

#19 Oct 17, 2008
JMullen wrote:
Early voting simply has too much potential for abuse, fraud and other complications. If the state or the nation as a whole is worried about the convenienvce of letting someone vote close to where they work then let's have the elections on the weekend or make election day a federal holiday.
The absentee ballot process works fine, there is no need for "vote early, vote often, vote anywhere".

The only Constituional Amendment I want to see on voting is one that requires people to show ID.

Since: Sep 07

Baltimore, MD

#20 Oct 17, 2008
The Nose wrote:
No once is FORCING anyone to vote before election day, just giving them an option. If I feel I have enough information, and I want to cast my vote two weeks early, why shouldn't I be able to vote at a time when I don't have to wait in line for two hours? If I don't feel like I have enough information, I have the choice of waiting until election day.
Information is only one aspect of this.

Politicians put on pushes for contributions to their campaign accounts right before the end of the regular reporting periods. These periods vary from the Federal accounts and the state accounts.

One reason for the push to report big numbers is to attempt to demonstrate to the public that they are well liked and supported. This deserves more contributions is the implication. During the reporting during the active period of the election cycle, reports of big war-chests are used to suppress support for their opponents. In America, bigger is always better, right?

Another reason for the push for reportable dollars outside of the active election period is to suppress competition. Only the most hardened, most experienced, most confident politician will jump into a race when the opponent has enough in their account finance an entire campaign two or more years ahead of Election Day.

Early voting is another method employed by a party with unstoppable power to ensure the re-election of the legislator. Too often, money will sit on the side lines and observe challengers, determining whether their money will make a difference. With early voting, the same effect is sought. For example, in a state with a 2:1 party registration advantage, early voting by the party with the advantage will discourage the other party voters form voting. Voter suppression. If the other party voted early, the party in power would wail and moan about their enemies and the people aligned against them. When this is reported in the news, Election Day votes are suppressed because there is no hope of turning out the scoundrels.

(It is lawful to observe who votes and record that information. You will not know for sure how a person voted, but you will know their party affiliation.)

When our Federal Constitution was written, the states had already written theirs. Political parties had not formed into two monoliths. The debaters and negotiators were trying to create a level playing field. One of the methods was through the establishment of an Election Day for voters to cast their votes.

Convenience is a poor argument for extending the vote casting period. Is it really too difficult to set aside one to four days every four years to select the people who will spend your money, protect your family and property, and keep those who would seek our demise from great success?

If you made up your mind early who you think should represent and govern, use the time up until and including Election Day to encourage others to join you in electing your chosen candidates. casting your vote early is more like buying a lottery ticket than selecting your representatives. We can hold the lottery ticket for several days or a week and anticipate the big win. When it doesn't come we have a chuckle and our life is unchanged. With the early vote, we become spectators with little interest in what happens In a week a or two. Our reaction is likely to match that with the lottery ticket. Only with elections, it matters to our lives who is elected. Let's not leave that up to chance alone, or permit it to be influenced by subterfuge and scheme.

Take a smile and meet your neighbors at the polls. Each can have their say on that one day and know the result (usually) that day or the next morning.

White Speak

Glen Burnie, MD

#21 Oct 17, 2008
If they allow early voting.... then it is only fair to allow late voting..... up until the time the individual is sworn into office.
hhunt51

Leesburg, VA

#22 Oct 25, 2008
do we have early voting in the stae of maryland???

“Don't protect me from me!”

Since: Jul 07

Westland, MI

#23 Oct 25, 2008
hhunt51 wrote:
do we have early voting in the stae of maryland???
Yes! It's called the Absentee Ballot.

What we don't have is an ID requirement.

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