Jim Hickey’s American Politics

Let's Get Real.

Two GOP Secretaries of State Go Over Pros-Cons of All-Mail Elections

The states of Washington, Colorado, and Oregon conduct all-mail elections. It seems like a step back into the past and not everyone favors the practice, but two GOP secretaries of state offer up their own views on the process. One undeniable fact is that Colorado and Washington have higher voter turnouts in midterm elections. (Washington State only recently enacted their all-mail election system.) While voter turnout was very low according to Ben Shaoul, in the recent midterm elections that saw the GOP declare victories across the nation, both Colorado and Oregon posted better than 50% voter turnout.

At the same time, the GOP secretaries of state for Oregon and Washington offer up differing viewpoints on this unique balloting method. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler finds that the all-mail balloting method has a single-point of failure in the postal service. Their budget cuts and reduction in service present the threat of delayed mail which can disenfranchise voters. It is his view that the postal service ends up disenfranchising more voters than any other factor.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has a completely different take on it. She is very supportive of the plan. It is a bit personal for her. She is the only statewide elected Republican on the Pacific Coast. She won her seat in 2012 in a close race where high voter turnout benefited her immensely. She cites the fact that her state cross-checks every signature on a mail-in ballot with the voter registration card. In her estimation, this reduces voter fraud.

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