Election 2012

Secretary of State Demands Full Accounting of Ballot Pickup Efforts

By Josh Feit November 6, 2012

In response to recent reports about Republican "vote chasing"—that is, sending paid volunteers door-to-door to collect people's ballots—Katie Blinn, Co-Director of Elections at the Secretary of State's office, sent a letter this morning to leaders of both political parties (including the campaign managers of both gubernatorial campaigns) demanding a full accounting of these efforts.

Alluding to the potential for partisans to conveniently lose ballots, Blinn ordered the parties to provide the date and time of any ballot pickups, the name of the staffers who picked them up, and when and where the ballot was delivered to the elections office.

Here's Blinn's stern letter:

It has been brought to our attention that candidate campaigns and political parties are requesting voted ballots from voters at social events, voters’ homes, unofficial ballot drop locations, and other places.

While such activity has become common practice for voter registration drives, and for missing or mismatched ballot declaration signatures, we have greater concern about campaigns and political parties asking voters to hand over voted ballots. If an organization fails to submit a voter registration application or ballot declaration to the elections office, the voter usually has the opportunity to learn of this failure early enough to submit another application or declaration before the deadline. But if an organization fails to submit a voter’s ballot by the 8:00 p.m. deadline, the voter has no opportunity to submit another ballot. The result is disenfranchisement.

If your organization, or an extension of your organization, has organized any effort to collect voted ballots from voters, please provide our office with the following information for every ballot no later than 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 7, 2012:

Voter’s name and address
Date and location ballot was received, and names of staff or volunteers who received it
Status of the ballot, when and where ballot was delivered to the elections office

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