If voting by mail is here to stay, there are plenty of problems to fix
Voting by mail is nothing new. Absentee ballots, which are delivered through the mail, have been around a long time and among others, allow those serving the country away from home to take part in an election.
Voting by mail in the current election was a good idea because of the coronavirus pandemic. It allowed more people to take part in election than would have if in-person balloting was the only choice.
Voting by mail in the current election also caused more problems than it was worth. Our leaders need to rectify that before another ballot is cast.
Problems included people changing their minds and not following the rules, people just not following the rules, and partisan judges changing the rules as they went along.
We saw a sign of the first in Union Township, Mifflin County, where voters would first request a mail-in ballot, then decided to vote in person, then failed to return the mail-in ballot when voting in person. This forced poll workers to go through the process of a provisional ballot, which created more work for election officials, who had to verify the voter’s status.
Perhaps the answer is to require those who request mail-in ballots to vote that way. At the very least, those who show up after changing their mind should have to produce the mail ballot or be denied in person.
Then there’s the naked ballot, a problem Snyder County faced. This is a mailed-in ballot that was not double covered in an outer, secret envelope. Despite, again, creating more work for everyone, officials in that county made the effort to get word to mail voters through public channels in accordance with election law.
A bunch of them will probably never be counted. At least until somebody sues and a judge orders it.
Speaking of the judiciary, our commonwealth has to be a laughing stock at this point in the eyes of other states that understand counting votes and the rules for doing so. Our state Supreme Court threw a wrench in the works by telling voters they could wait beyond the deadline to vote by mail.
The federal Supreme Court allowed this on the grounds that states control elections, although we wonder why the feds can’t set the rules for a presidential election. More important, the court overlooked the fact that five of our state justices are basically partisan hacks deep in the pocket of our Democratic governor.
Let’s see if someone can fix it over the next four years.