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« Brian Schweitzer and the Politics of Real ID | Main | Real ID: The Feds Back Down »

March 24, 2008

Why Florida and Michigan Couldn't Revote by Mail

posted by Josh Goodman

Democratic revotes in Michigan and Florida are dead (although, much like the upside down goldfish in your fishbowl, there's a slight chance they're just sleeping). So why didn't that whole voting-by-mail idea work out?

To put the question differently, why couldn't Michigan and Florida imitate Oregon? Oregon is the only state in the country to hold all of its elections through the mail.

Election law experts Rick Hasen and Dan Tokaji made pretty strong arguments as to why it would have been hard for Florida and Michigan to mimic Oregon's system on a short timetable. If you don't believe them, you might consult Oregon's 137-page vote-by-mail procedures manual.

One example: Oregon has the signature of every registered voter on file. They also have state employees who are trained to recognize when signatures match and when they don't. For each election, they check the signature on every single ballot against the one that is on file, as a way to prevent fraud.

Says Scott Moore, a spokesman for the Oregon Secretary of State, "This isn't a project that you could take on just because you want to do it."

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