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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 17, 2008 / 10 Adar II 5768

Don't Go Postal: Michigan and Florida Democrats are wise to steer clear of mail-in ballots

By John H. Fund


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "There's talk in some Democratic circles of letting the states of Michigan and Florida revote. . . . They're talking about a revote primary where people would mail in their ballots. That's a great idea, combine the reliability of the people in Florida who count the ballots with the efficiency of the Post Office. What could go wrong there?"—Jay Leno

It's unclear if either Florida or Michigan, whose delegations are barred from voting at the Democratic National Convention because they held early primaries in violation of party rules, will figure out a way to hold a revote between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

What is clear is that the Democratic Party in both states is likely to reject using privately funded mail-in elections as the solution. A mail-in vote is less secure than a ballot cast in person, and both Michigan and Florida have long histories of both voter fraud and election official incompetence.


For too long, both parties have encouraged the growth of mail-in ballots (also known as absentee voting), to the point that some 3 out of 10 votes in national election are now cast before Election Day. Little thought has been given to the security problems attendant to absentee voting. Politicians have tended to ignore complaints because constituents like the convenience of voting from home. Oregon and Washington state have moved to virtually all-mail elections, in part because the cost is as little as one-third as much as a regular precinct-based system.

But the prospect of mail-in elections in Michigan and Florida alarmed Democrats in those states. "How do you make sure that hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million or more ballots can be properly counted and that duplicate ballots can be avoided?" Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan said in an ABC News interview. Unscrupulous candidates in Detroit and other Michigan cities have routinely abused absentee ballots. Former mayor Dennis Archer has told the Detroit News it is common practice for political operatives to approach candidates and request money in exchange for "bringing in" absentees.

Florida also has a rich history of problems with absentee ballots. "The lack of in-person, at-the-polls accountability makes absentee ballots the tool of choice for those inclined to commit fraud," the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded in 1998, after a mayoral election in Miami was thrown out when officials learned that "vote brokers" had signed hundreds of phony absentee ballots. A panel of state appellate judges ordered a new election, noting that "unlike the right to vote, which is assured every citizen by the Constitution, the ability to vote by absentee ballot is a privilege."

Absentee ballots are much more easily abused for several reasons. "In the absence of a secret ballot, it becomes much easier to enter into an illegal vote buying contract, because the buyer can verify how the seller has voted," notes Rick Hasen, a noted expert on election laws at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "In addition, because voting takes place out of the public eye, the possibility of coercion or intimidation about how to vote becomes possible."

In southwest Pennsylvania, Democratic former congressman Austin Murphy was convicted in 1998 of visiting nursing homes and improperly "assisting" the filling out of absentee ballots. "In this area there's a pattern of nursing-home administrators frequently forging ballots under residents' names," says Sean Cavanagh, a Democratic former county supervisor who uncovered the scandal. In 2005, Detroit's city clerk, Jackie Currie, hired people to assist patients in hospitals and nursing homes in voting by absentee ballot. State election officials believe many of those hired violated rules on the extent to which anyone can help the disabled or elderly in marking ballots.


Fraud isn't the only problem with relying on the mail for collecting votes. Just last week, the U.S. Postal Service lost more than 1,100 absentee ballots for a special state legislative election in Florida. Postal officials have no record of what happened to them. That worries Toni Molinaro, chairman of the Democratic Party in St. Petersburg: "The worst-case scenario is that someone took them and is going to do something fraudulent with them."

In 2004 Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, mailed 58,000 absentee ballots out that didn't arrive on time—or, in some cases, ever. Mike Slater, deputy director of the nonpartisan Project Vote registration group, told the Palm Beach Post that election officials, not postal workers, should be the main overseers of elections: "Mail is an unreliable tool."

It's true that Oregon and Washington, the states that pioneered massive mail-in voting, have had fewer problems. But those traditionally "clean government" states aren't immune. The 2004 Washington governor's race was decided by 134 votes, and recounts dragged on for nearly two months. The huge number of absentee ballots slowed the recounts and led to hot tempers as election officials in Seattle kept finding ballots they said hadn't previously been counted. In the end, less than half of the state's citizens had confidence the election had been fair and honest.

Melody Rose, a liberal professor at Oregon State University, says her state's all-mail-in ballot system hasn't raised voter turnout and doesn't save money because it merely shifts the expense from the state to the voter, who must pay for postage. She believes that vote-by-mail "brings a perpetual risk of systemic fraud" because of poor security at ballot drop-off points for those who don't wish to mail their ballots and the danger that ballots can easily be stolen from mailboxes.

Given that the political class tends to pooh-pooh concerns about voter fraud and incompetence on the part of election officials, it's refreshing to see politicians in Michigan and Florida finally become alert to the problems of having ballots distributed and handled outside the supervision of election officials.

It's past time for officials in other states to reconsider their rush to shove more and more voters into the hands of the U.S. Postal Service. They should place reasonable curbs on absentee voting. If they don't, present trends will soon turn us into a nation where half of us vote on Election Day and the other half . . . well, whenever. Rather than make elections better, the inevitable disputes arising from that hybrid system could wind up further dividing the country and eroding confidence in the results.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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