So, trepidatiously, I went off to vote. I imagined officious claims that I was trying to vote twice, ending in a provisional ballot. In the event, however, it was all a a happy anti-climax. The official called over someone to explain what to do, which involved punching some buttons, and voilà! I am issued a nice new giant ballot.
Apparently even if they had my by-mail ballot, they would allow me to vote in person as the system is programmed to erase the earlier ballot in that case. Which sort of makes me wonder how that works. As I understand it, the state releases the early vote totals pretty quickly after polls close. That leaves just two possibilities: either (1) they have my name attached to my ballot up until the polls close, and can pull it before they count it; or (2) they have my name attached to my vote even after an initial count, and can deduct my vote from the total before releasing it. Neither possibility suggests that ballot anonymity is preserved very well, does it? Although in case (1) I guess it could be anonymous once it’s counted.
I voted by mail this year, thinking that with such a long ballot the lines might be very long. I posted my ballot at the Post Office on Monday, well before the 1pm pickup scheduled for weekdays. As of this writing, the Miami-Dade elections officials have not received my ballot, at least according to the online lookup tool.
Does it really take five days to deliver a letter from the post office in Coral Gables to downtown Miami?
And, more worryingly, if by Tuesday afternoon, they still won’t admit to having my ballot, how do I cast a ballot that is likely to count? All I’ve been able to find so far is this, from the Florida division of elections:
If the voter decides to go to the polls to vote instead, the voter should bring the vote-by-mail ballot (whether it has been marked or not). Even if the voter comes to the polls without the vote-by-mail ballot, the voter will still be able to vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections’ office is able to confirm that it has not received the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot. However, if it is confirmed that the voter have already voted a vote-by-mail ballot, the voter cannot vote again at the polls. If the voter believes or insists that the supervisor of elections’ office is wrong about receiving the vote-by-mail ballot or if the supervisor of elections’ office cannot confirm that the voter has already voted an vote-by-mail ballot, the voter is allowed to vote a provisional ballot.
I guess I better block out some time for Tuesday afternoon.
PCEA Announces Public Meeting on Friday, June 28, 2013
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 — The Presidential Commission on Election Administration will convene a public meeting on June 28, 2013, in the Hurricane Room at the BankUnited Center, University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, beginning at 9:00 a.m. eastern time, ending no later than 5:00 p.m.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Mark Nejbauer
Designated Federal Officer
Presidential Commission on Election Administration
I wonder why they moved it?
Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but if anyone reading this is going, would you consider live Tweeting it? (Let us know your Twitter handle or hashtag in the comments.) Or if you prefer, send in periodic reports as comments below.
It occurred to me this morning that the solution to Republican electoral problems is, when you think about it, obvious, and a friend of mine from a red state pointed out that a Tea Party leader has already mused about it, back in the heady days of 2010. The solution, which has a rich tradition in western and US history, is a property qualification for voting. And what is rather shocking is that there does not seem to be anything in the Constitution to prevent it.
Clearly, there is nothing in the basic, or even 10-amendment, Constitution — at least as originally understood — that would prevent a state from imposing a property qualification. Several states had them in the early years of the Republic (just as at least one had an established church for several years). I think the main federal issue would be whether the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, as currently understood, would block a property qualification. There would, undoubtedly, also be state constitutional law issues in many states.
I’m not an Equal Protection expert by any means, but my knee-jerk reaction is ‘of course that isn’t Constitutional’. That said, it’s not explicitly barred, which I suppose means that were the Court to treat the question doctrinally, it would apply strict scrutiny. I don’t see how a state would come up with justifications for a property requirement that would survive strict scrutiny, but I’m open to correction on anything in this last paragraph by people who actually know stuff.