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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions July 10, 2014


2/7/2013 9:59:00 PM
Editorial: Early voter ballot: Use it or lose it
The Daily Courier


Voting is a right, but not an inalienable right.

Inalienable rights are those things that cannot lawfully be taken away or transferred, such as the rights of liberty or speech.

Some voting rights are a privilege, though.

This week, an Arizona Senate committee endorsed a bill aimed at helping counties manage permanent early voter lists to reduce the number of provisional ballots cast.

What this means to you, if you're on an early voting list, is the bill would allow counties to remove from the lists people who don't vote in both the primary and general elections in a given year.

Voting early is a privilege. If you do not exercise the privilege of voting early, you should lose it, rather than have the government continue to spend money to send you an early ballot.

As a side note, this also should apply when people do not actually vote early. Too many early ballots this last go-round were turned in on Election Day. Want to see who's on the ballot early, so you can study the candidates and the issues? Your sample ballot, which arrives in the mail too, serves that purpose. But that's not what this is about.

The bill cleared the committee on a 4-3 party-line vote. It also contains a stipulation that would make it a Class 5 felony for anyone to alter any part of a voter registration form after the person registering has signed it.

For example, some volunteers who register voters add dates when they are left off of registration forms. Opponents said that although volunteers shouldn't change registration forms, a Class 5 felony was too harsh of a violation for those who think that they are doing something good.

Let's be clear: Voting is a right that should be taken seriously. That should include taking the forms seriously, too.

The only thing this changes is it makes the word "permanent" incorrect. If you do not vote, the government should be allowed to remove you from the list.

Related Stories:
• Committee narrowly endorses bill on purging early voter lists


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Many believe that early voting is the pathway to voter fraud.

Except for absentee ballots, everyone should vote in person, on the same day. I believe that was the way it was intended.


Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ this article

Anyone who voted in this election was fooled, your vote does not count, no ones does. "It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes''-STALIN

Posted: Saturday, February 09, 2013
Article comment by: This hurts Independents most

In Arizona Independents often skip the primary (because to vote in a primary they have to, at least temporarily, register as either Dem or Rep). But, as stated above, those not voting in both the primary and general election in a given year can be removed from the early voting list. Thus, virtually all Independents could end up being tossed off the early voting list. That strikes me as ridiculously unfair to Independent voters.

Posted: Saturday, February 09, 2013
Article comment by: I Choose not To Vote

Likewise, holding a government position should be taken seriously. If you do not then you should be removed from office. Sadly, we have scores of inept people doing nothing in the best interests of our nation without having politics getting in the way.

Posted: Saturday, February 09, 2013
Article comment by: Judy B

No wonder Obama was re-elected. After reading the responses posted here it is quite clear that comprehension levels are sorely lacking.

All this bill does is remove a person's name from the list used to AUTOMATICALLY send an early ballot to. This in no way prohibits a voter from requesting an early ballot, it does not restrict ANYONE from voting but it can produce cost savings for the taxpayers by reducing the number of ballots mailed when they are not being used. Why is this simple concept so hard to understand?

I have been a poll worker 6 times and seen people come in and been told they received an early ballot (it's clearly identified on the roster who received an early ballot) and will have to vote provisional because there is no way to verify that they haven't already voted that early ballot. What we need is integrity of our voting process so that people can have confidence in the results - whether they agree or disagree with those results.

There is a poll worker now in Ohio who is boasting that she voted twice for Obama - once by early ballot and then again at the polls and there is currently an investigation into similar instances - all in Ohio.

It is really sad to see how rabid the left becomes when common sense safeguards are attempted to be put in place to protect the election process. You can't board a plane or buy alcohol without showing identification - you shouldn't be voting unless you can provide the same level of identification. It really is as simple as that!


Posted: Saturday, February 09, 2013
Article comment by: Outside Looking In

Political garbage aside, there are a few points to clarify with this bill. First, it only proposes to remove voters from the PERMENANT early voting list if they fail to return their early ballot in two consecutive statewide elections, not to remove them as voters. They will still have the opportunity to call in before each election to request an early ballot, vote early in person at one of the County's early voting sites, or vote at the polling place on election day. So even if something like a family emergency prevents someone from returning their early ballot for a couple elections, they will still have the opportunity to vote. Second, Federal law prohibits voters from being removed from the voter rolls unless they have not voted in a minimum of two consecutive federal elections - meaning 4 years' worth of not voting. To me, this comes down more to how taxpayer dollars are used. Do we continue to pay for ballots to be sent automatically to people who have a history of not returning them, or do we require those voters request an early ballot when there is an election they want to vote in? Voting is a right Voting by mail in the cozy comfort of your home is a privilege.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: No litmus test for voting privileges

This editorial makes the case that if one didn't vote last year, they should have fewer voting privileges this year. What would be next? Perhaps someone who missed two years in a row would be disqualified from ever voting again? That certainly is a possible voting system alright--just not the American system. An individual's prior voting record should not be used as a weapon against them for future voting opportunities anymore than race should determine who is permitted to have a early voter ballot.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ There You Go Again

No, itís just as an Independent there are candidates on both the Republican and Democratic tickets that we may prefer during a Primary. Why should we be limited to voting for one partyís slate of candidates over another? That's why Independants want an open Primary. Give us a separate ballot that shows all the candidates (and party affiliations if that makes you happy) so that we can vote prior to the General election too.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Anonymous to All- Please explain how a group of people who can't figure out how to vote won an election.

If you are afraid that early voting for all could change the outcome of an election, then by eliminating it you are simply attempting to suppress voters. Logic.


Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous to all

@Tongue-in-Cheek .
The "can't figure out how to vote" group got our president elected twice. Which two presidents received the most popular votes in the history of the U.S.? Obama in 2008 and Obama in 2012. We've got the voting down just fine, thank you, even with yours not mattering.


Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek .

DUH, if you didn't vote and are dropped off the early ballot role, RE-REGISTER, OR is that just asking way too much of a Democrat? I bought a new home thus moved so I had to re-register and it was among the easiest things in my move. I assume the "can't figure out how to vote" group would like egg in their beer too.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: George Seaman

If the argument is about whether the government ought to have to send out ballots to people who don't use them, then it would seem logical that a non-party affilitated voter who did not vote in a primary should not be penalized for that choice.

It is not coincidental that Republican led legislatures all over the country are the only ones introducing bills which limit or reduce access to the polls. This is a concerted effort on the part of that party to restrict voting, the only differences seem to be how each of these states is trying to accomplish that goal.

Any law which restricts access to the polls should be considered suspect and have to pass a thorough examination by the federal elections commision or the Supreme Court...after all the 14th Amend guarantees equal protection under the law to all U.S.citizens regardless of their state of residence.


Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Hands in the Cookie Jar .

I wonder why it is always just Democrats that cry foul when anyone mentions cleaning up the voter roles? Then even protest removing dead people from the roles. Are Republicans that clean and upstanding that they don't pull shenanigans to win elections. Or is it only Democrats that have something to hide or a slight of hand? When one throws a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that gets hit is the one that yelps.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: What If You Are An Independent

@There You Go Again

A political choice for not belonging to a political party, takes away my right to vote early. Does not make sense. My guess is the independents split more for Republicans, than Democrats in this state. I am a conservative and do not look at labels.

If they change the law, I will join a party and send in a blank ballot for the primary. Problem solved.


Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

The last thing republicans want, is people voting, especially working folks.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Same voting opportunities for ALL

There can be many valid reasons why an individual might fail to vote in a given year. Perhaps they, or a loved one, have had health issues that year and studying the candidates is the last thing on their mind. Perhaps they are out of the country that year. If one form of voting is to be made available to some, it should be made available to all. Period. Otherwise this step invites further voter suppression measures in the future.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

The County Elections office tells me, a registered independent, that they send out a form so you can decide which primary you would like to vote in. So, as an independent, you would not be excluded under this law. Oh, you say you do not want to vote in any primary? Well, that is a choice you are making and, it sounds like, there will be some consequences to that choice. Just like there are significant consequences for the choice the voters made to put Obama back in the White House.

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: J K

We live in a red state. It is trending blue. The republicans in charge want to stem the flow of red. Making the electorate smaller is a strategy being employed in many republican controlled states. Restrictive voter Id laws, mass purges of citizens from voter registration lists, limiting early voting opportunities, reducing the numbers of working voting machines to increase the time spent in line waiting to vote in predominately democratic voting strongholds and limiting the ability of outside groups such as The League of Women Voters to register voters, all
voter suppression. Pure and simple.


Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

It's politics. The Republicans have run the numbers and figured out who voted for them and who didn't and are now trying to reduce turnout among the populations who didn't. It's not just happening here.

To prevent disenfranchisement and simplify the process, we need a federally mandated election process. Start by finding the states with the best procedures, the fewest problems, and the highest turnout. Then standardize their process and mandate it for other states. Why is it that in 2013, the world's first constitutional democratic republic can't come up with a fair and reliable voting system?


Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: What If You Are An Independent

As a registered independent, I do not vote in the primary and they do not send me a ballot. I do get an early ballot for the general elections and vote. Is this a way to penalize voters who do not belong to a party, since I do not vote in the primary but do vote in the general election.



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