My view

‘No excuse’ absentee ballots are necessary

By CATHERINE MACGOWAN DAWKINS
Posted 10/19/21

“The best-laid plans… ” Have you ever had one of those days that just seemed to turn upside down and stay that way for hours? Well, if you’re a caretaker for someone who is …

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My view

‘No excuse’ absentee ballots are necessary

Posted

“The best-laid plans… ” Have you ever had one of those days that just seemed to turn upside down and stay that way for hours? Well, if you’re a caretaker for someone who is elderly or fragile, or if you have “that” kind of job, that sort of day can happen more frequently and with less warning than you might imagine. A day—and night—in the emergency room. A spur-of-the-moment call to go pick up an essential part for a critical project or to work out of town for a few days. These are the realities of life for those of us living in the real world. And they don’t always give advance warning that they’re coming. So, when there is an event that must happen on a certain day, at a certain place, in a certain window of time—well, that makes me nervous.

It is with this in mind that I look at “no excuse” absentee voting, which is before the people of New York State in November—a proposition to eliminate the requirement that a voter provides a reason for voting by absentee ballot.

Such was my perspective as I read an opinion by Mr. John Faso, arguing against a New York proposition to allow for “no excuse” absentee ballot voting. Mr. Faso expressed concerns that this provision would “hamper election administration, delay election results in close elections and make it easier to commit voter fraud.”  

As for fraud, I live in Mamakating. We’ve seen voter fraud. The real kind, not some scare tactic invented by a politician. Take a look at the history and the facts—the voter fraud scheme did not center on absentee ballots; it centered on fraudulent registration and busing people in to vote fraudulently in person.

Further, absentee ballots are nothing new. We know how to issue, validate and count them. A voter must sign both the request and the submission. These signatures must match the signature on file. We have the technology to ensure that the ballots are both scannable (fast and easy to count) and will be rejected if the voter has, instead, opted to vote at the polling location. These safeguards seem to make absentee ballots even more secure than in-person voting.

Finally, I don’t believe that absentee ballots should or will delay the count. But, even if they do, isn’t it more important to ensure that each qualified voter has an opportunity to vote than to save a few hours in the count? For me, the answer is yes.

So it seems like Mr. Faso’s objections are completely unfounded. His desperate plea to get a quick and dirty count, to make voting harder for some of our most vulnerable population, doesn’t carry any weight for me.

I encourage my neighbors to support the “no excuse” absentee provision.

Catherine MacGowan Dawkins lives in the Town of Mamakating, NY.

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