Ross: Lawsuit challenges election officials for a better process
Right now, there are 26,933 ballots statewide being challenged for signatures that don’t match.
And because of that, three community groups and three individual voters are suing for an injunction that would prohibit county elections departments from rejecting ballot envelopes just because the signatures don’t match.
More from Dave Ross: Another year without any major election fraud issues in sight
If the courts agree, every ballot with a signature would be counted whether it matches or not.
This may sound crazy. But the three voters in this lawsuit allege that when their signatures were first rejected, they did everything they were asked to do – filled out the forms, signed several times, presented ID, and still, their votes were not counted.
Even though there was no indication of fraud.
And I find that disturbing.
The plaintiffs argue that the signature – however sloppy – can still serve as a binding affirmation that the vote is legal, under penalty of perjury. And so, they believe that any legal ballot envelope whose bar code checks out should be accepted whether or not that signature is a match.
Unfortunately, the lawsuit doesn’t suggest a better way of proving who you are.
It does mention DNA as far more reliable than a signature – but nobody’s going to sign their ballot envelope with a DNA sample.
However, if I may resurrect one of my own ideas here – I think there is a way to keep the signature-matching requirement – while at the same time providing some justice to those victimized by it.
Here’s what I suggest.
If any voter – like the three voters in this lawsuit, who were all qualified to cast a ballot – is denied their right to cast that ballot solely because of a mismatched signature, that voter is exempt from all state and local taxes until the next election.
It’s a principle most of us would recognize – no taxation without representation.
That’s real money — especially if we end up with an income tax.
And I think this would work because it would give counties a lot more incentive to be very careful about how many signatures they reject. And you may say, Dave – won’t people just start sloppy signing just to get out of paying taxes?
Maybe. But if they do, I predict that with all that tax money on the line, counties will suddenly find that your signature matches pretty well after all.
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