I hope I don't have to tell you all why Vote By Mail kicks ass. Ok, I will if you really want me to, but I'd rather you told other people, in other states, why Vote By Mail kicks ass. Fortunately, there's an opportunity right now for you to do just that!
The elections world outside of Oregon used to think Oregon's Vote By Mail system was strange, but now it's starting to look pretty smart. In the wake of long lines and wrong polling places in Ohio, in anticipation of the meltdown of electronic touchscreen voting machines and software that votes for you, instead of confusion and unreliable technology, we have a simple, low-tech, easily understandable method of voting that saves money, provides an auditable paper trail, and offers voters the convenience that leads to more informed and more likely participation.
The May issue of The American Prospect magazine includes a special report on all of the reasons that Vote By Mail works.
In Washington State, 35 of 39 counties have chosen to Vote By Mail. In California, absentee numbers are rising and the county clerks are strongly in favor of Vote By Mail. In Arizona, an entrepreneur is placing a measure on the ballot to allow Vote By Mail. And in Colorado, counties have chosen to use vote by mail for non-partisan elections, just like Oregon did in the 80's and 90's.
Should we thumb our nose at our sister states and say "I told you so?" Tempting, but not very effective, and not particulary good for democracy. Rather we should offer our experience as a guide, as a resource, and as an advocate. The Secretary of State's office of course offers information and resources, and the just-launched Vote By Mail Project has sprung into existence to provide advocacy, so show your support and check in with them for continuing coverage of VBM across the west and in all states where voter turnout, ballot integrity, and public confidence in elections are important. Oh right, that's everywhere.