Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the names listed asking them to stop this part of a bill being proposed by Secretary of State Kate Brown to change Oregon Election laws by ending the current law which requires the county elections offices to immediately destroy all unused ballots when the polls close at 8pm on election day. Why would anyone think it would be appropiate to not destroy those ballots? and why all of the secrecy and sleazy political tricks she used when she slid this new law into a healthcare bill hoping it would go unnoticed and pass? here is that letter which I editted to my own tastes prior to sending it but that was originally written by Mhicheil Daily….Here is a copy of my letter … feel free to copy it in full or in part but please send an email to these people and tell them to leave this bad law out!
Feb 13th, 2011
Mr. Jim Stembridge
Rep. Andy Olson
Rep. Dave Hunt
RE: State of Oregon – HB 2256
“The integrity of the vote is something we can never be too careful with. As Stalin made clear in one of his famous quotes:
Stalin di…dn’t care who people voted for so long as he controlled the vote tabulation process. The reasons are obvious. Our election laws were set up to provide legitimacy and integrity to our elections, and to safeguard the process. That brings me to the current efforts to change this process by removing one of those safeguards and in doing so to open the door allowing for the suggestion and appearance of impropriety whether it’s justified or not.
I understand Oregon Secretary of State, Kate Brown, has used her influence to change a KEY provision on the 2nd page of HB 2256. Currently, it is the law in Oregon that all blank and unused ballots be destroyed at 8pm immediately after the polls close. The reasoning behind this is both intuitive and obvious. The change she has proposed, and has slid into the fine print of a health care bill (of all places) changes this requirement and makes it the law that they NOT be destroyed. Why? What sense does this make? What purpose could possibly be served by having a law that creates the opportunity for blank ballots to be cast after the voting has ended and the results are being determined. There is no reason; and even if there were, there certainly is no reason great enough that it would trump the additional safeguards destroying these ballots provides. Destroying these ballots takes away any chance and any suggestion they could be used for mischief (ballot stuffing). What possible legitimate reason can be brought to keep blank ballots after the polls are closed?
Objections to making fraud more difficult are a clarion call for intense scrutiny of the current voting process and procedures going forward. Perhaps a look back in history is in order. In 1934, at the 17th Soviet Congress, there was a vote against Stalin’s leadership. At the congressional sessions members voted for who they wanted to head the party by voting against who they did not want. Stalin received the most votes against him. However, Stalin had the loyalty of those who were counting the ballots and Stalin had the ballots against him destroyed. It was Sergei Kirov who actually won the election. Stalin then proceeded to have Kirov and most of the other 1300 members of the 17th congress (who were all Communists) murdered. Pretty dramatic I know but true nonetheless.
I am very suspicious of the desire by Secretary Brown to make it legal to hold onto blank ballots after the poll closes… it simply invites and encourages fraud. We cannot abide this risk. Don’t we have enough real financial and systemic problems that need to be dealt with without opening the door and changing laws that do nothing more than create new ones? I would like to see that this provision in the proposed law eliminated and that we be required to continue to destroying the unused ballots at 8pm on Election Day and if we make any changes to this part of the law that they be to add some teeth for violating it and nothing else.