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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Protecting secret ballots

  • I recently received the promised ballot on the tax increase referendum in Leavenworth.
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  • To the editor:
    I recently received the promised ballot on the tax increase referendum in Leavenworth. I completed and returned it, following the provided instructions exactly.
    However, I and a few friends noticed the principle of the secret ballot appeared to be violated in this process.
    The instructions required I sign the envelope before returning it. I understand the reasoning behind this, since we want to ensure that only registered voters are voting.
    However, this also violates the principles of the secret ballot since anyone receiving it will immediately know how I voted.
    Now, I want to be clear that I do not doubt the integrity of the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office nor that of anyone who works there. I'm sure they possess the highest values.
    However, I also know that election fraud has occurred in American history and continues to occur even today.
    The flyer that was sent out before the ballot stated that we could return our ballot in person.
    The information with the actual ballot does not seem to have this provision. However, in both cases a signature on the envelope was required.
    The secrecy of my ballot was thus still compromised in either return method.
    In some states, this has led to voter fraud allegations.
    Consider that in the 2010 Oregon gubernatorial election, the party affiliations and numbers of returned ballots was known, resulting in a record number of ballots being returned the last two days.
    Coincidence? Inquiring minds definitely want to know.
    While I believe we have an honest system here in Leavenworth, could it not be even more honest, eliminating the possibility of future issues and unanswered questions?
    Why not ensure the "return in person" method is provided in the actual ballot instructions and state that the ballot returned in person does not have to be signed, but that the voter would have to provide appropriate identification upon return and then the ballot locked in a very secure type of safe or lockbox, deposited by the voter him/herself through a simple slot, and the container itself would have controls regarding access so ballots cannot be reviewed, lost, or stolen.
    The elector would then have their name checked off the roster that the election officer uses and the process would be complete. Further, information on who has voted and their party affiliation would not be released.
    I understand the need to have honest ballots cast. The need for secrecy in the ballot is no less essential.
    Remember the old adage of Murphy's Law – if it can go wrong, it will, sooner or later. Let's keep our elections both honest and secret.
    Page 2 of 2 - Contact Janet Klasinski at (913) 684-0422 and ask her to provide this or some other equally effective means of guarding our secret ballot.
    The secret ballot is one of the few truly effective means we have of safeguarding our rights.

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