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Mail-in Ballots: A Bad Idea

February 3, 2011

Not all bad ideas come from the Democratic left. Republican Carole Murray (HD45) of Douglas and Teller Counties has introduced HB11-1131.  The bill “requires all general, primary, odd-year, recall, and congressional vacancy elections to be conducted as mail ballot elections.”

That’s a very bad idea that the liberty groups and the majority of Clerk and Recorders opposed last April when it was part of a bill introduced at the last minute by then Secretary of State Bernie Buescher and House Majority Leader Terrence Carroll. It was a bad idea then and it is a bad idea now.


  • Mandatory, all-mail ballots are less secure and are more prone to fraud and mistake. One woman I talked to received 4 mail-in ballots at her address. Only one was hers, but she could have filled out and returned all four.
  • Our databases are still sloppy, and sloppy databases amplify the chance for fraud because ballots can be sent to phantom voters such as voters who have moved away or died. A. Maurer, Alfred Maurer, and A.C. Maurer can all vote. So can my cat Murphy.
  • Groups such as ACORN have committed voter registration fraud in years past, creating more database problems.
  • The Clerks verify signatures, but this is an imprecise process. The clerks use a very relaxed standard to detect fraud. Do they check every single ballot?
  • It is very difficult for disabled voters to participate in mandatory, all-mail ballots.
  • Because live ballots go out in the mail, they are subject to errors by the USPS and can be intercepted or returned by ineligible voters. Relying on the federal government (US Postal Service) as the sole ballot delivery method means that Colorado’s elections will only be as efficient as the federal government’s postal service.
Voters deserve the option to vote on election day. They should not be coerced into voting by mail. The County Clerks and political parties have spent millions trying to convince Coloradans to vote by mail. Nonetheless, 30% of the population refuses to vote by mail. Giving people the option to vote by mail (like now) is popular; mandating it is not.
Somehow, election day voting has worked well for over 235 years of American history. We should not abandon it. Voting at the polls on election day fosters local community participation. We should not cut off this important civic activity. Remember the purple fingers in Iraq? That’s civic pride.
It is shameful that some in Colorado want to abandon same day voting because of costs when 48 other states can manage this core governmental function.We should instead focus on more secure elections: photo IDs and Proof of Citizenship, both of which have also been presented as bills in the current session.

In 2002 voters rejected a mandatory, all-mail ballot initiative. In 2010 they rejected it again. Enough! It was a bad idea then and it is a bad idea now. Contact your House representative to voice your opposition or contact Rep Murray at:

Phone 303-866-2948

(Thanks to the Pikes Peak 9-12 for information on this bill.)


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