— The Brunswick News, April 14, 2020 —
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is trying to make it easier on voters this election cycle. He’s mailing out absentee ballot request forms to everyone in the state who’s registered to vote. He just figures people might prefer to select their elected officials this way because of the coronavirus, which health officials predict will no longer be pandemic by June 9, primary election day.
Sounds reasonable. Any voter who prefers to vote by mail can do so. No other explanation is necessary. Simply return the request form with the proper information.
There’s always the potential for cheating on elections via absentee ballots, even when closely monitored and watched. Suffice it to say, the Secretary of State is taking extra steps to minimize the chance of that happening.
Keeping it honest will be hard enough without doing what the Democratic leadership in the Georgia General Assembly is advocating.
It’s asking for more. It wants absentee ballots to be stamped and ready to be mailed back to the state, and it wants the ballots sent to every registered voter in Georgia. This includes residents who do not ask for one. Democrats contend more people would participate in the election process if everyone received a ready-to-mail ballot.
No one could deny that. More ballots would likely be cast with a mark-and-mail ballot.
But it also opens the door to dishonesty. Ballots sent to voters who never requested them could end up in someone else’s hands, including minors living in the same household. Is this really the way we want to pick members of Congress, the Georgia Legislature and county commissions?
One could easily argue that even if there is fraud, it would be only a small percentage of the total vote cast. True, but look how many elections have been decided by a handful of votes.
The cost of a stamp is not going to keep someone from voting except for maybe those who dislike being inconvenienced — the no-shows, the same people who are unlikely to take the time to travel to the polls and vote on election day.
Stick to the initial plan. Mail absentee ballots to only those who request them.