It was another record year for absentee voting. Before dawn even broke on Election Day in Iowa, an estimated 40 percent of the votes were in.
The Des Moines Register reports the Secretary of State’s office had received more than 637,000 early votes by the time the polls opened today — a 35 percent increase over the previous record. More than half the registered voters in Johnson County requested absentee ballots this year, according to The Press-Citizen. Which makes you wonder — why don’t we all vote by mail?
That’s how they do it in Oregon, and they like it. In fact, it delivers one of the highest — if not the highest — turnouts in the country, for less than the cost of holding elections at polling places, according to Oregon’s Secretary of State.
About a month before the election, the Oregon Secretary of State sends out to every registered voter a voters guide that lists information about the candidates, ballot initiatives and other good-to-know election information. Two weeks later, the ballots go out through the mail. Voters make their choices, stick their ballots in a secrecy envelope and either mail them back for the cost of a first-class stamp or personally deliver them. A signature verification system protects against fraud.
This guy estimates that if every state adopted the Oregon system, we could expect to see a 10 percent increase in registered-voter turnout in general elections and as much as a 25 percent increase in participation in primaries — or an additional 20 million and 40 million new votes, respectively.
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