default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

J. Kurt Roberts San Joaquin County could save big bucks by switching to vote-by-mail

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

J. Kurt Roberts

Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:19 am, Sat Oct 9, 2010.

This past June, a Grand Jury report recommended that San Joaquin County abandon the time-honored standard practice of having voters actually go to their neighborhood polling places each election day. The report stated that the county could experience an average cost savings of more than $500,000 each and every year if vote-by-mail was made the law of the land, or at least the law of the county.

With there no longer being a need to rent out polling places, pay and train inspectors and clerks who run the polling places, and no need to print and distribute the rather large box of ballots and supplies needed at every polling place, you can see how the savings would quickly add up.

Electronic voting machines, once touted as a revolutionary breakthrough in the way Californians vote, have since been shown to be vulnerable to "hacking" or other electronic manipulation of the vote count.

The website openvotingfoundation.org has actually stated that the Diebold voting machines could be compromised with a simple screwdriver by a person with access and motive, and should be recalled. Not exactly what I would want to here if I were Secretary of State or Registrar of Voters.

Even with that knowledge, though, the machines were still used in every precinct, or rather required, to mollify the Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA), supposedly to make voting easier for persons with disabilities.

In the 2008 presidential election, the election that the Grand Jury report focused on, fewer than 200 total votes were cast on the ATM-type electronic voting machines. All 513 precincts had to be fitted with the rather flimsy devices, at a cost of what the Grand Jury reported to be $2,400 per vote, when the total cost of operating, acquisition, storage and maintenance of the machines is factored in.

As one who had served as an inspector for 9-10 elections in a row until stating my frustration at what I then believed to be a tremendous amount of waste of time, energy and money at one of the state mandated preelection training seminars — well, it is a welcome validation of my views.

It is difficult to gauge whether or not there is at this time, the money and energy, or for that matter the will, needed to make this change in California law happen at this point in time. But since the vote-by-mail numbers in San Joaquin County reflect similar numbers in the rest of the state, it may be in California's best economic interests to follow Oregon's lead and go entirely vote-by-mail.

One thing that is certain is that there is a very significant amount of money that could be allocated elsewhere, if the county were indeed able to make the transition to vote-by-mail only. I'd vote for that!

J. Kurt Roberts can be reached at jkurtroberts@att.net.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 1:21 am on Sat, Oct 9, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2353

    While I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Roberts that the electronic voting machines should be eliminated (I currently serve as a voting inspector at a local voting precinct and have yet to have one person use the machine), I cannot concur with his notion to force voting by mail.

    The problem with that is Constitutional in nature, not just affection for having an actual voting place open to cast my vote. The upcoming election is to take place on November 2, 2010. As such, the polls are to remain open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. In fact, I'm sure Mr. Roberts recalls the requirement that one official must verbally announce the polls open at precisely 7:00 a.m. and likewise verbally announce it closed at 8:00 p.m.

    Election Day is the last day when people are to register their choice for candidates and other items of great importance. Until that day, many things can occur that would have us change our minds. "October Surprises" aren't always limited to days in October. As such, once one places their ballot in the mail, they are unable to change their vote.

    If forced voting by mail is enacted, those ballots would be required to be placed into the mail well before Election Day - for everyone. I believe the courts would view such a move as a "no brainer" and declare it a violation of the Constitution.

    If folks want to voluntarily vote for mail, that's one thing. And I agree that the rolls have far more people now who choose to vote that way than ever before. But it is THEIR choice.

    So yes, get rid of the machines. But no, don't force people to vote by mail.


Recent Comments

Posted 1 hour ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: What is happening in this count…

The Founding Father's would be proud of these students for standing up to these small minded would be tyrants. It is a shame there isn't …


Posted 1 hour ago by Eric Barrow.

article: Letter: What is happening in this count…

"Rip the heart and soul out of this once proud nation" How about a little pride in these young people willing to look unabashed a…


Posted 1 hour ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: What is happening in this count…

Imagine how the story of the Boston Tea Party will have to be taught under these restrictions. Irony... Ya gotta love it!


Posted 1 hour ago by Eric Barrow.

article: Letter: What is happening in this count…

How about the just present the facts and let people decide for themselves what part of the American story is positive and what you are prou…


Posted 2 hours ago by Eric Barrow.

article: Steve Hansen: Climate change is real, b…

Slowly but surely the naysers come around some time in the future the Steve Hansen's of the world will be admitting that man did have a han…



Popular Stories


What would you like to see in Lodi's parks?

Lodi's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is hosting a public workshop at 7 p.m. at Hutchins Street Square to find out how it can better meet the needs of the community. What would you like to see in Lodi's parks?

Total Votes: 200


Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Featured Events

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists