by Bob Branco
During an election, there are people who can’t get to the polls. They are either ill, out of town, or physically incapable of voting at their local precinct. For this reason, many cities and towns have taken steps to establish absentee voting. Registered voters would apply for this service and have a ballot delivered to them. This is convenient, and it allows people who want to decide an election to be part of a process that they otherwise could not be part of.
With that said, I think it’s important that people who use the absentee voting process be aware of certain dangers. If a voter depends on someone else to mark his vote for him, how can he be sure that it’s the right vote? What if his caregiver, for whatever reason, chose to vote a different way just because she likes that candidate, and to heck with who the client wanted to vote for? Can anyone tell me that this never happened or is not possible?
If there is dishonesty by a caregiver who helps the client with an absentee ballot, it can’t be proven because the only thing that an election volunteer sees is the mark in the ballot box. I suppose that the voter, no matter how incapacitated he is, can ask his city or town for an accessible ballot for himself, especially if he can’t see or read. However, what if the city or town doesn’t have such a resource? We all like to believe that everyone is honest even when it comes to voting, but we also know that we can’t guarantee it.
I always like to offer solutions to the problems I discuss, but in this case I am having a bit of trouble. Should cities and towns study the absentee voting process further and look into the possibility of dishonesty by some of the people who help the voters? If it happens more often than we care to admit, the future of cities, states, and the country could be affected.
For now, all I can suggest is that if you plan to use an absentee ballot, make sure that you know who is helping you vote, and that this individual is completely honest.
About the Author
Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/.