For years, voting methods have become a political football tossed around by parties and pundits. Voter fraud is an unfortunate, prominent ill of society whether we choose to recognize it or not. I have worked at newspapers for more than a few years and as a news agency, vote-buying stories and illegal voting practices were not uncommon.
In the last national election, the Democrats cried foul especially when the Electoral College gave the Republicans the majority and the popular vote went Democratic. However, if the opposite had been the case and the Democrats would've won the Electoral College's vote and the Republicans had taken the popular, they would've been raising the same argument. Let's be open-minded about it. If you disagree, then you're so died in the wool one way or another, making a valid argument will be difficult.
So this brings me to mail-in voting. My question is why is the Democratic Party so in favor of it and the Republicans so against it?
I've always had a fear that my vote wouldn't count as an absentee, much less as a mail-in. What if someone has enough of my personal information to cast my vote, could that be a possibility?
My wife had misplaced her birth certificate when we moved to Murray several years ago and in applying for a new one, it was uncanny the information that the government had on file, not only about her, but her family.
How hard do you think it would be for a cell phone or some other online account or email to be hacked? How many times have you seen on Facebook that one of your friend's Facebook account has been hacked and they're asking you not to accept any new friend requests? Happens all the time, so getting a few tidbits of a person's personal information is a piece of cake if someone is so inclined to do so.
We had this discussion around the office recently. What if someone turns in an absentee or mail-in vote in my name before mine actually reaches the clerk's office? Would the one reaching the clerk’s office first would be counted and mine tossed? Or would someone raise their hand and contact me to see why there were two votes?
Let me say in no way am I insinuating there is voter fraud in Calloway County; that's the furthest thing from my point. I'm talking nationally.
It's that nagging presence in the back of my mind to hold trust in a sacred place that keeps me from thinking it's a good idea.
And finally, to add to my point, we had an incident recently that provoked even more thought on the subject. Every day, we send out the Murray Ledger & Times through different means. We have carrier delivery and we use the post office for some county subscribers. We have same-day local delivery if we get our papers to the Murray Post Office by 6 a.m. For outlying post offices, we have exceptional dispatch, in that, if we get them to those offices by a certain time every morning, those also have same-day delivery. Those are Farmington, Hazel and Puryear, Tennessee.
For everything else, out-of-county and out-of-state, they go through the mail process. Those deliveries can take from a couple of days to a few weeks and you may get one paper a day and you may get five papers, depending on the mail chain down the line.
There's no rhyme or reason to how they'll reach their destination.
Once when I was the circulation manager in Pike County, I was taking care of a few issues with the business bulk mail manager and the postmaster at the post office and noticed a stack of papers on a counter in the back. I recognized they were back issues and I asked why they hadn't gone out.
The postmaster told me those were placed on the back burner and they worked them up as they had time. So I asked if that was why it sometimes take two or three weeks for out-of-town subscribers to get papers and his answer was yes. I'm not in that venue, so I don't know if that's the common practice or not; however, the incident I just mentioned came to my attention last week.
Our Kentucky Press Association in Frankfort receives papers from members all over the state every day. Of course, those would be considered out-of-county, so there's no set date they will arrive. Last week, KPA Executive Director David T. Thompson sent out an email that they had received eight Kentucky newspapers on June 15, all dated Aug. 11, 2015. In other words, they took 58 months to make their journey through the mail channels to Frankfort! The papers were from Henderson, Harlan, Mayfield, Middlesboro, Benton, Corbin, Hickman County, Danville, and yours truly, the Murray Ledger & Times.
We got a good laugh about it and I joked, "We have one-day service – you'll get it one day."
While it might have seemed like an opportunity for a laugh (and a few fellow publishers took the opportunity to get in their jabs), what makes anyone think that mail-in voting is safe and sound?
Again, I'm not throwing our post office under the bus; we have a great working relationship with them, but once everything leaves their hands, then what? We've sent letters to people across town that have taken five or six days to get there. Maybe it's that Evansville trip they make before making what could've been a three-mile journey that throws it off.
Maybe we need to let Apple set up voting machines; not even the FBI can penetrate their fortress, or at least it takes months.
I want my vote to count and I'll weigh in that more secure steps need to be taken to make me feel all warm and fuzzy once my vote is cast.
To me, that's just common sense.