How close are we to having early voting?

How about a $100-200 tax credit in return for voting: $100 per general election, maybe $200 for primary elections. We should positively incentivize participation and open up the system. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Is anyone pushing it here in MA?

Recommended by tblade, mike_cote.



Discuss

35 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Constitutional Amendment

    was the final word on previous discussions of this. Even though it is in the platform, I have not heard a peep about this.

  2. Sorry, here is the link to the previous discusion

    October Discussion of Early Voting

  3. There are 351 problems with it.

    You’ll have 351 town clerks fighting it. They have a hard enough time staffing there offices on a day-to-day basis, let alone adding the strain of early voting. The state would have to come up with an increase in local aid for the the specific purpose of early voting to help the clerks.

    • ^*their offices....

      n/t

    • We figured out health care...

      …ergo, I think we can design a way to early vote once everry two years.

    • we not make it an alternative to jury duty?

      You’ll have 351 town clerks fighting it. They have a hard enough time staffing there offices on a day-to-day basis, let alone adding the strain of early voting. The state would have to come up with an increase in local aid for the the specific purpose of early voting to help the clerks.

      Instead of serving on a jury, perhaps one can opt to be a poll worker for x hours during the month of October. Using the same template, personnel would be exempt for losing their job and the government would have the same penalties for no-shows.

      Problem solved.

      • erp...

        we not make it…

        WHY not make it…

        (curse you fat unwieldy and un-co-operative sausages extending outward from my palms)

        • Ehhh....

          Not a fan of that idea…who’s left on jury duty then?

          sabutai   @   Wed 14 Nov 5:59 PM
          • not replace, but augment

            Not a fan of that idea…who’s left on jury duty then?

            There are far far more spaces for jury duty, a more or less random and continuous need, then there are for proscribed-in-time and essentially finite poll work.

            So, you get a summons for jury duty that says “if you don’t want to do jury duty you can spend x hours as a poll worker instead.” If you decline, you go to jury duty as before. If you accept you are put into a lottery for the finite number of poll worker spaces and you report in October if chosen. If not chosen, you return to the pool of potential jurors.

            It’s really not that difficult.

    • 351 reasons to rethink towns versus counties

      Talk about the tail wagging the dog, it seems to me that making it easy for any citizen to vote is among the most important priorities of any state, including Massachusetts. That’s why we close schools on election day, for example.

      We have about 351 school boards, police departments, fire departments, mayors/managers, town halls, town clerks, and everything else &#8212 (“about” because some services are shared among some towns). As a result, we have 351 zoning boards, DPWs, rubbish pickups, and all the other overhead of modern life.

      I get that this provides lots of quaint direct-democracy New England charm and character. It is also enormously, extravagantly, and staggeringly more expensive than making our counties (or other regional bodies) actually work.

      I think that 351 town clerks fighting early voting is a compellingly good reason to do away with town clerks.

      • Well

        The town clerks are easy to reach and know who you are.

        It would suck if all of their functions wound up transferred to someone in a cube on Ashburton Place whose phone is always busy, particularly over an issue such as this.

        • Expaned constituent support costs FAR LESS than what we have

          I agree that town clerks are easy to reach. It’s much less clear that they “know who you are” — perhaps in some towns, but probably not in cities like Somerville. Even if they did, I suggest it isn’t worth the extra cost.

          I’ve lived in Massachusetts since 1974, and I’m relatively active in local affairs. I can speak to first-experience with Billerica, Dunstable, Brookline, Wellesley, and Somerville. I would NOT characterize that first-hand experience as particularly stellar. Friendly? Sure. Effective? Sometimes. Efficient? Only occasionally.

          I grew up in Montgomery County, MD. I suggest that by virtually any reasonable metric you’d like to offer, a regional approach such as that in MD significantly outperforms our quaint and charming cities and towns — at compellingly lower cost.

          During a time when so much emphasis placed on slashing government spending and making government more efficient, I find it anachronistic that we insist on perpetuating these grossly inefficient local bureaucracies.

          Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are &#8212 count themeighty eight housing authorities in Massachusetts. We already know about significant scandals in several of them — how many do we NOT know about?

          How much do we spend on electrical and building inspectors for each of the 351 cities and towns? Is it really worth the enormous expenditure to support that overhead on each and every town?

          We live in a state whose public transportation infrastructure is crumbling and rusting away because we allegedly can’t afford to raise taxes. When we talk of unsustainable luxuries, I suggest that whatever benefits we claim to receive from maintaining our separate 351 cities and towns should be at the very top of the list.

          • The irony...

            is it is the regional public transit which is struggling the most, whereas the local building inspections seem to be going along just fine.

    • Sometimes, the only argument is:

      “That’s not the way we have always done it”, and there is inherent resistance to change, but once people get dragged, kicking and screaming into the present, they usually get used to it, and wonder how they ever did things differently.

  4. It shouldn't be much more burden for clerks.

    We basically have early voting with in-person absentee. Going from needing the flimsiest of excuses to officially needing no excuse will hardly be felt. Precisely because we do it by town rather than county I do not anticipate the lines we saw for early voting in other states.

    • Not so simple

      No-excuses-absentee and early voting aren’t quite the same thing, at least not in my mind. No excuses absentee is indeed just a shade more permissive than what seems to happen now. At my Town Hall, you go to the counter, chit chat, get handed a ballot, and they slide it in an envelope.

      The images I’ve seen of “early voting” seem to include a physical polling place, polling equipment, and something akin to permanent staffing. It does seem like a bit more effort, planning, and staffing.

      So, let’s get there incrementally. Let’s move to no-excuses-absentee, and see how it goes. We know how it will go — no biggie. But, if it helps soften up the 351 members of the opposition, it might be the way to go.

      • It doesn't have to be though

        In Oregon they have all mail-in balloting. As a bit of a traditionalist (and suspicious about not seeing my ballot cast) I’m horrified, but my uncle there loves it.

      • Actual "early voting"

        is a much bigger deal than “no excuse” absentee voting, because early voting involves opening up polling places that otherwise are open only on election day. It will cost money, and it will require hiring more people. IMHO, it’s worth it.

        • I can't remember how much it costs

          to run the polls for a day in my town, but I think it’s a few thousand. We employ at least eight poll workers and a police officer (who probably gets duty pay) for at least 12 hours. And my town only has 6,400 people.

          • In my town it's $30k a pop

            That’s a half-time teacher.

            If, as David says, it’s worth it, then the Commonwealth, not my town, should pay for it.

            By the way, we’ve had 4 elections this year alone.

            Voting bottlenecks are real and serious, but they do not occur everywhere and apparently only in federal elections when turnout is highest.

            Perhaps there is a smarter way to fix this problem than by adding to the cost of every election everywhere.

  5. What I'm suggesting David...

    …is that it does not HAVE to involve opening more places. In the states that officially do early voting AND do it by county you get the long lines because there are limited polling places. I think town by town works well and thus strongly disagree with what appears to be Somerville Tom’s suggestion of doing this by county.

    • I seriously doubt

      that the town clerk offices, as presently set up, would be able to handle any major push toward early voting. They’re just not staffed or designed for that.

  6. Move election day to both days of the weekend.

    Tuesdays were chosen, if I remember my civics class correctly, to allow farmers to travel to the county seat by foot after the Sabbath.
    7AM Saturday to 11PM Sunday, open 40 hours in a row!

  7. Tonight at the DSC meeting...

    …a motion was made to ask the chair to appoint a commission to study how early voting might be implemented. Presumably this would lead to lobbying for legal and constitutional changes and including support for such in the party platform. The motion was postponed until the next DSC meeting to give others a chance to weigh in.

  8. Do a few different pilots

    Allow early voting in a few municipalities for the odd-year elections. Let each municipality choose its own method.

  9. A federal mandate one day?

    I don’t expect anything to come of this right away, but U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) is introducing a bill that would require at least 15 days of early voting before each federal election, among other things.

    This particular bill I don’t expect to go very far in John Boehner’s House, but there will be increasing pressure for federal oversight of federal elections if the 5-hour lines continue.

    • How many B-52 bombers

      would it take to buy early voting across the country? My hunch… not many.

      I look at it slightly differently though. Early voting is helpful, but if it’s not in places that people can get to, if the lines there are long, etc. etc. it only nibbles at the problem.

      I wonder: what if the Feds “paid” for votes? What if, for example, the state and the city/town/county got $5 each per voter? What if states had a budgetary motivation to turn out voters? I guess you’ve got to worry about creating an incentive for locals to allow ineligible voters the vote, but I just feel like it would be nice to use a carrot to encourage states to make this work instead of just (yet another) unfunded mandate.

      • apparently...

        …and I didn’t know this until yesterday when I was listening to Norm Ornstein on “Fresh Air” from shortly after the election, but some other country (I think Australia) actually FINES people if they don’t show up to the polling places. They are NOT however, compelled to vote. They can show up, sign in and leave without casting a vote but if they don’t even both to show they are fined. I found that quite interesting. It might be something I could get behind… provided there were fines also for not registering… else people would opt out of the process wholesale.

        • Ugh

          Look, I don’t want to poke somebody with a sharp stick to go vote. If they’re not interested, then
          a. the candidates haven’t done a good enough job
          b. the volunteers haven’t done a good enough job, and/or
          c. I don’t want a disinterested, misinformed voter casting a ballot of randomness into the system

          • I'll see your ugh and raise you an Erp.

            Look, I don’t want to poke somebody with a sharp stick to go vote. If they’re not interested, then
            a. the candidates haven’t done a good enough job
            b. the volunteers haven’t done a good enough job, and/or

            OR… the party of cognitive dissonance has done a “good enough” job of alienating them. Maybe the onus ought not to be on the candidate or volunteers to be ‘interesting’ since this isn’t a high school election. I don’t particularly care if you think that broccoli is interesting or not, but you gotta eat it.

            c. I don’t want a disinterested, misinformed voter casting a ballot of randomness into the system

            What is it about the current system that indicates to you an immunity to this exact scenario?

            • not voting

              the immunity from (c) is that folks who feel that way don’t vote.

              You use the word ‘interesting,’ not me.

              • that is...

                not voting(0+ / 0-) View voters
                the immunity from (c) is that folks who feel that way don’t vote.

                … to put it bluntly, the most naive thing I’ve every seen from you.

                You use the word ‘interesting,’ not me

                You did say “if they are not interested and what other way is there to be ‘interested” save for having something ‘interesting’???

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