Doc (echsdoc) wrote,

131 - The secret ballot

When I was a kid we were taught that the secret ballot (the Australian Ballot) was one of the most important parts of our democracy. In England people had to vote outside in the open, with others watching, so the opposition knew who you were and could act accordingly. The secret ballot was what made our votes secure. No one could watch us vote; there could be no repercussions.

But here in Washington the secret ballot is never mentioned. With no debate about the consequences, we are now using all mail ballots for elections. Gone is the sacrosanct voting booth, where a young voter might vote in opposition to his parents. Now anyone in your home has the ability to use personal pressure on a voter, to order a specific vote. You know as well as I that spouses all over the state are filling in ballots for the couple and thus getting a double dip at the election. This should not be possible.

This recent election added a new twist. Now, the voter's signature is not hidden on the ballot. Instead, it is right on the outside of the mailing envelope, so anyone who sees the ballot sees the signature. And the ballot is not kept in secure elections locations. It is put into the US Mail, and any postal service worker can see that it is your ballot and see your official signature on the envelope. The insecurity is scary. The availability for shenanigans is massive. (All it takes is one mailperson noticing that a particular ballot belongs to someone down the street with whom he agrees and, bingo, no vote.)

Essentially, we have lost the secret ballot. And nobody cares. It is an issue open to either party, but they shake hands in ignoring it. And the very Democracy is unprotected. This bothers me a lot.

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