Old Ladies and Boniva
Further Evidence of Our Corrupt Congress

Elder Absentee Voting

category_bug_politics.gif One of the topics during the six-hour Elderblogger PhoneCon on Tuesday was making our votes count. In some states, it is possible to vote an absentee ballot which is done manually, thereby creating a paper trail if a recount is necessary. It is a way to ensure that if the new electronic machines fail or are fiddled with, at least some votes are accounted for.

On PhoneCon, Naomi Dagen Bloom of A Little Red Hen suggested rather strongly that each of us on the telephone conference report Friday, today, with instructions for absentee voting in each of our states. But first…

Two years ago, preceding the 2004 presidential election, a group of eleven powerful women including former Colorado congresswoman Pat Shroeder, former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, columnist Ellen Goodman and anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, created the GrannyVoters. The goal, according to their website, was

“…to inform, inspire, and engage grandparents so that they vote for sustainable policies protecting the quality of their grandchildren's lives decades into the future and the stability of the America they will inhabit.”

It was a fine way to think about choosing which candidates to vote for but, apparently, all they ever did was send out one press release and pose for one photo on the Mall in Washington while sitting in rocking chairs. Cute, sort of. But they have been absent from this year’s campaign and their website has fallen into disuse.

But that does not make their original inspiration any less pertinent and even noble. So I urge you grandmothers – and grandfathers too – to think carefully, when you vote on 7 November, about the future you want for your grandchildren. Do you think any of your incumbents – Democratic or Republican – care about the next generations? Have they done anything while in office to ensure a better place for your grandchildren?

Elders vote in much larger numbers than any other age group. We can make those votes count even more by voting first, against those in Congress who can’t see beyond their next free vacation trip from a lobbyist (which is all of them) and second, for new candidates who will then be on notice that if they don’t work in the next two years with the common good in mind, we can vote them out too.

Maine appears to have one of the most progressive voting systems in the country. All balloting – absentee and direct on voting day – is done on paper. Ballots are then tallied by machine and the paper ballots are preserved for any possible recount needs.

Anyone may vote absentee up to and including election day, 7 November. An absentee ballot is available online [pdf] and may be mailed in as long as it arrives by 8PM on election day. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at City Hall in Portland (and in other cities) until 8PM on election day.

There are also allowances for delivery of absentee ballots by a second party representing a voter who cannot get to the polling place due to illness, mobility or other issues that prevent them from traveling.

Anyone who has information about absentee voting in your state, please write about it on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments below.


Amen...as I said in today's blog about "CYNICAL AMBITION", it is time we voted for what we are FOR and not what we are against. I also suggested in "VOTING"that it would be a good idea to spend a wee bit of time sorting through the voting records of some of these pols and pass the word around on our blogs of who we like and don't like.

Thanks for the apology about lost in email gulch, I have a few waiting for you in there and was thinking you weren't interested.

Maryland's recent primary election was such a voting-machine fiasco that the public was strongly encouraged to vote in the general election by absentee ballot, which I recently did. It involved signing a form, being mailed the ballot, and mailing it back in before Nov. 7.
Seems there's more and more reasons to go postal with our votes: Diebold malfunctioning and tampering (or suspicions thereof), outright voter suppression a la Ohio in 2004 (7-hour waits in Dem-leaning precincts), and the simple fact that voting by mail enfranchises so many busy working and disabled people.

This is an excellent point about voting absentee ballot. In our community we use punch cards. Will have to check into what the policy is throughout the state of Calif.

Surely do hope voters come out in droves this election -- elders, including boomers, younger voting age adults who have visited here and others who may be reading -- we have an opportunity to send a powerful message about the kind of government we want.

BTW as soon as I get the tech glitches out of my new blog so I can respond to comments and add new posts I'll do so. Thanks to everyone for your interest and patience.

I've sent my absentee ballot in already. I love this method of voting. Here is a link for anyone in Colorado.

I've always voted with my heart before and it was like throwing my vote away. I hope there will come a time where that is not the case. Unfortunately I don't believe now is the time.

Although I have used absentee ballots many times (I lived in Albuquerque for seven years and had to vote absentee, each time, due to travel for my job), NPR made it sound like a less-than-perfect solution. There was a report, the other day, saying that absentee ballots were counted less frequently than ballots at polling places--for whatever reason. Obviously, this should not be taken as a blanket statement; but, I can see that someone might unintentionally void their own absentee ballot--without having a way to know it.

Cop Car: each state is different. In Maine, all absentee ballots are counted together with direct ballots at polling stations as long as they are received by the deadline which is 8PM on election day.

Good morning, Ronni!
I've posted links for the California Secretary of State's website.

I don't know about Oregon, but I do know we have vote-by-mail for the general elections. I really like our system: it gives you time to read through things carefully, think about them, and NOT have to have them memorized when you get to the polling place. Not to mention it spares me having to find time during the day to get to the polling place and then find out if there is a wait or not.

Please check my post today for details on November 2 HBO program, "Hacking Democracy," on problems in Vermont with optical scanning and how to obtain and use an Absentee Ballot if you're a registered voter in New York City.

Thanks, Ronni, for follow-up!

All voting in Oregon is on paper ballots by mail and that began several years ago. I have missed going to the polling places and seeing neighbors, but it was done to increase voter turnout. We have already received our ballots and can vote anytime up until the election when we would drop off rather than mail ballots.

In New Mexico one of the earliest election phone calls I got asked me if I wanted to vote absentee. I said yes and several days later a ballot arrived. I mailed it in last week. I also received post cards offering me the opportunity to request an absentee ballot. It's a good thing they make it so easy, because if you go to the Secretary of State's web site it's impossible to find a way to request one. (Who designs these horrible state web sites anyway? The one for the NM Retirees Health Care Authority is so bad it's completely unusable!)

I’m afraid absentee ballots have not proved a panacea in the home of election problems, Ohio. Not only have ballots in several areas been delayed or misprinted, (see the links below) but there has been a recent court ruling on the ID requirement that have left many voters in limbo as to the validity of there ballot.

Here is the link to our Secretary of State’s website with the arcane (and maybe now inaccurate) instructions for absentee ballots for anyone brave enough to roll the dice. Issue 3 on our ballot would permit slot machines in certain locations. Looks like the real gamble, still, is just voting in Ohio. One might note that the smiling fellow pictured in the upper left of the web page is running for Governor and has a vested interest in who is able to vote.
Absentee Voting

Election board angered by absentee ballot delay

Issue 5 worded incorrectly on ballots in Miami County

Judge suspends voter-ID directive

In Minnesota - one requests an absentee ballot from the city/township clerk's office - is sent a registration form to complete and return - then is sent a ballot with a stamped return envelop which also contains a 'security' envelop and another envelop with a witness' signature - the witness states h/she saw an uncompleted ballot - simple and easy. The voter completes the ballot, swaths it in the various envelops and pops it into the mail

And - yes - we MUST ask ourselves 'HOW ARE THE CHILDREN' when we vote. The last three years have been brutal ones for families and kids - and it IS a fact that if the children are doing well in a community - that means that their families are working/have an adequate income/have adequate and affordable housing/have day care available if needed/have access to afforadable and appropriate health care/have an educational system that meets the needs of not only the children but the entire community.

So - HOW ARE THE CHILDREN - may be the primary question that needs an answer at the polls.

End of soapbox. Vote on, folks!

In Arizona it has been possible to vote absentee for many years and I have already done so. Switching to an all mail-in ballot system is being considered here and it would save money. However, nothing is perfect and I have read about thousands of unopened absentee ballots being found in dumps after the election. Unfortunately, Arizonans just approved a voter ID law which will probably disenfranchise many of the minorities. The claim is to weed out illegal immmigrant voting (hardly a real problem), but the real reason is to make it more difficult for the legal voters, who are not always aware of the change, to vote. Those voters tend to be the poor and minorities who usually vote Democrat. It's no surprise that our legislators are mostly Republican. One thought to add to the mix; when we are voting in a national election why aren't national standards and methods for voting enacted? There are too many opportunities to tamper with the votes now (Ohio and Florida being a case in point) and a "one-size-fits-all" might provide an opportunity to standardize the voting and eliminate local tampering with the election. States Rights would still prevail in local voting. The Electoral College is another issue that should be looked at. We have long ago left behind being a small country of 13 Colonies.

I need to correct an impression that I may have given regarding Voter ID Act. It was on the ballot in the last election and the voters of Arizona approved it. The Arizona Supreme Court recently found it legal. Nonetheless, it was pushed by Republicans in the Liegislature. I am against it for the above reasons stated.

Make sure you request your absentee ballot in plenty of time to have your ballot at the polling place by election day.

We are usually long gone from Wisconsin by election day but I did not receive my absentee ballot in time to return it by election day. This year we are not leaving until after we vote on election day.

The absentee ballots are counted by the poll workers at your polling place. To obtain one you have to request one from the municipal or town clerk where you live.
Rural Wisconsin is divided into townships 6 miles by 6 miles and the town hall is usually the polling place.

The comments to this entry are closed.