Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press
Heard about HB 172? Probably not. There hasn't been much discussion about this bill, which was passed by our legislators and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012. The bill states that "an election officer may administer an election 'entirely' by absentee ballot." You will no longer have the freedom of choice. If the election officer in your county decides your county is voting by mail, you are voting by mail.
This bill also states that "the lieutenant governor, in consultation with other election officers, shall study how to administer an election that takes place no later than 2015 in which 'all registered voters' receive a ballot in the mail." This will be subjecting all our ballots to being lost, stolen, misplaced or filled out by someone other than yourself. The election officer will not be able to verify if your returned ballot was actually signed or forged. The election officer will not be able to verify if you were intimidated or coerced. The citizen would not be able to audit the vote-by-mail system for the same reasons stated above.
Since doing this research, I have had members of families tell me this is going on in their own homes, and they do not say anything for fear of the family member being prosecuted. Vote by mail enables fraud to happen in every home.
Voting by mail is expensive. Realclearpolitics.com reported that in June 2011, voting by mail costs West Virginia City more than twice what the city anticipated. "... 12,000 of the 16,000 ballots weren't cast, and that means the city wasted $25,000." In 2011, Corinne City was mandated to vote by mail, costing $1,137. Since then, the cost has increased. Paper ballots printed by their local printing company cost $25. The Corinne citizens were able to reverse the vote-by-mail mandate.
Article IV, Section 8 of the Utah Constitution states that "all elections shall be by secret ballot." Many of our Utah citizens have lost this right, which has been in place since just after the Civil War. Recently freed slaves were being threatened and intimidated, so the polling locations were created.
Please contact your representatives, county clerk and Gov. Herbert and tell them to repeal this bill, restore the local-level polling location for every Utah citizen and restore the paper ballot. It has been proven to be the cheapest and least-prone to fraud. Restore volunteerism: the citizens need to watch over and count the ballots — instead of the government. Remember what the communist leader Joseph Stalin said: "People who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
Only allow the vote-by-mail system on a limited basis, such as with missionaries, military, health and out-of-town issues. The majority of us should be going to our local polling locations. The leadership is showing more concern with voter participation than ballot integrity. Integrity of the ballot should be the highest priority.
Protect the only checks and balance we the people have — our voting system.
DeAnna Hardy is a mom, grandma and concerned citizen from Brigham City.
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