Wednesday, February 18, 2009

House Bill 26 - Permanent Absentee Voting

The next legislation I'd like to talk about is something I've worked on for all three years I've been elected, permanent absentee voting (H0026).

The bill is pretty self-explanatory. Currently, Idahoans are permitted to vote absentee with no restrictions. That is a good thing, I believe. However, Idaho law requires that a voter request an absentee ballot for every election in which they would like to participate. That, it seems to me, is inefficient and unnecessary. To correct this issue, I have proposed that voters be given the option to simply check a box that indicates that they would like to vote absentee from then on. (or until they don't want to anymore).

So what about potential voter fraud? There are several safeguards such as:
  • In the case that a voter moves the absentee ballots will stop,
  • A signature on the submitted ballot is compared with signature used to register,
  • If a voter becomes ineligible (dies, commits a felony, etc.) the absentee ballots will stop.

Given the clear demand for absentee voting (over 70,000 absentee voters in Ada County alone in the last general election) government should be responsive and assist citizens. Oh and I should also mention that this legislation is supported by the Idaho Association of Commissioners and Clerks as well as the Secretary of State.

You can check out the legislation here.

So what do you think?

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