Friday, February 15, 2008

Voters Rue Casting Absentee Ballots Early

By C. W. Nevius
San Francisco Chronicle
7 February 2008

Voters in California have been encouraged to use mail-in absentee ballots for years now. The idea is to increase participation. And it has.

But this year some voters are wishing they hadn't done it.

"For the first time, this election may force people to reconsider absentee voting," said David Binder, a San Francisco political pollster. "We've seen a downside we've never considered before."

One reason absentee balloting is getting so much attention is that it has been such a rip-roaring success in the last few years. As recently as 1996, only 23 percent of California voters used mail ballots. This year, the Field Poll estimated that of 8.9 million votes cast, 4.1 million, or 46 percent, would be absentee votes.

Even the experts got caught. Consider Tom Gangale, a fourth-generation San Franciscan and author of "From the Primaries to the Polls: How to Repair America's Broken Presidential Nomination Process."

"On Jan. 30, I marked my ballot and mailed it," Gangale said. "About an hour later, I learned Edwards had dropped out of the race."

Gangale thinks this year's primary is a good argument for "ranked voting," meaning that a voter would mark a first, second and third choice. If his first choice didn't get at least 15 percent, the ballot would go to the next choice. The system already is used in races for local office in San Francisco.

"The vote ought to count for something," Gangale said.


Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home