Making Absentee Ballots Work

During the recount of Minnesota’s US Senate race, both campaign committees contacted our daughter about her absentee ballot. It turns out that her ballot had been rejected because “the signatures didn’t match.”

This is one of those arbitrary ballot challenges that can probably apply to anyone. It makes me wonder if absentee ballots are a wasted effort for activist college students. A knowledgeable campaign worker may know of her political leanings and disputed the signatures on that basis.

How do we prevent such things from happening? Is this an authentication problem? How arbitrary are the challenges made against absentee ballots?

It’s an interesting question. I think it’s reasonable to challenge the validity of absentee ballots. The voting system requires one vote per person, and that votes can’t be bought or sold. The cumbersome absentee procedure tries to address those risks.

However, if any absentee ballot can be challenged on something arbitrary, like the closeness of a match between written signatures, doesn’t this disenfranchise people whose political biases are well known?

Maybe the whole absentee balloting process needs to be reviewed and overhauled. Individual ballots should not be subject to arbitrary challenges.

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