Oregon legislators propose national vote-by-mail bill

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    Voting rights across the country are under attack, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s office.

    To combat that, Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced a bill Thursday to expand Oregon’s vote-by-mail system nationwide. Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer is spearheading a related measure in the House.

    The bill – the Vote By Mail Act of 2016 – would require every state to provide registered voters the chance to vote by mail and send ballots and pre-paid envelopes out at least two weeks before an election. It would also amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to provide for automatic voter registration through a state’s department of motor vehicles.


    This is really needed!!

    My closer involvement with this primary revealed a lot of basic problems. There was some fraud, and those cases are in courts. I do not expect too much of them, but maybe some facts will come out of discovery that can be used to bolster this legislation.

    The vast majority of problems come down to:

    1. Apathy. Way too many people just don’t give a shit.
    2. Corruption of various kinds.

    It’s impossible to understand who won an election in South Carolina, for example. Paperless touch screens are used in the State, and the whole thing just kind of stinks. That has been true for years now. Shouldn’t be.

    Registration games are one of the things going to the courts. It could be nefarious. It could be really stupid too. Nobody knows.

    There is discrimination of various kinds. There does not appear to be some master plan scheme as some are saying. I don’t buy that for a minute. There are thumb on the scale type efforts. They are local actions of various kinds. Limiting polls, shifting them around, machine issues, etc… A clean up pass is needed here, particularly in the South. (it’s the South!)

    3. Lack of sufficient training and or organization.

    This primary highlighted that big. Indies were wanting to cross over. That created problems in CA, and other places.

    4. Funding.

    Oregon is about the only State that runs within statistically normal margins consistently. The polls, exit and otherwise, prediction models, etc… all work! They have since Oregon went to VBM. I didn’t know this, and it’s notable.

    By the way, I reviewed this stuff, having been involved in the 2000 timeframe. Gave it up then, due to the taboo surrounding this topic. For review, the core struggle isn’t conspiracy geeks causing trouble. And it’s not sore losers either.

    Those being the top two dismissals.

    No, it’s the implied crisis caused by invalidating our political and democratic process. And that’s valid!

    Our system isn’t running as well as it should, and that handicaps some efforts. But, the vast majority of elections are winnable, if more difficult than say, Oregon as standard would be. This makes the process valid, but kind of painful.

    People need to win elections to get power and from there, reform. This remains true and reasonably just, and so many of the “fix the elections” efforts do not reflect these basic realities. (which is why I stepped away from the matter when I did)

    All still true today, though more people did gather data and did take a proper motion to the courts. Not sure what their remedy will be though. Maybe there isn’t one that would not also trigger the implied crisis.

    Courts are not gonna do that.

    What we can look for is the courts to validate findings of fact and law. These can be used to reform. The remedy will be political. Watch for it. 😀


    By the way, Oregon has only one real weak point, and that is our elections are as good as the people who own them.

    We have good people, and the processes are solid. Proven.

    We do not provide outside audit data to the level needed to externally validate all of it.

    This is minor, given we’ve got solid people in place. That could change, and it’s worth doing the research every year to see who thinks what about elections in Oregon on that basis. We’ve got it good, up to us to keep it that way.

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