So, last spring during the height of the pandemic and lockdown, I decided not to take a chance and I ordered my “solicited absentee ballot.” It finally arrived this week.
Right from the start, however, I knew that there was something wrong with my ballot. It took me a few minutes to figure it out. The envelope came from “Georgia Secretary of State, Election Division.” Everything on the envelope, including the cute little American Election Mail flying eagle logo, was printed upside down on the “back!” I had to flip it around and turn it upside down so I could open it. This was not a good sign. It had me thinking.
We keep hearing stories that the Democrats are pushing to “flood” the US postal system with 80 million “unsolicited” ballots. Any adult warm body, any address, any local zip code - even if you’re homeless. That’s not exactly true. The caveat to all this is that states are only allowed to send mail-in ballots to “registered voters,” solicited or otherwise.
Why then the angst between unsolicited ballots and solicited ballots?
It’s pretty clear, the voting census shows that a majority of Republicans prefer to vote in person at polling booths and most of the mail-in ballots are from Democrats. You do the math.
In truth, it really doesn’t matter so long as the ballots are real and they go only to registered voters who officially vote and sign them. That should be simple enough - right? Well, it isn’t. Past practices have proven that a large number of mail-in ballots were fraudulent and were subject to tampering - 20% or more in some recent cases. Elections are constantly being contested - and rightfully so. Remember the “hanging chad” fiasco between Al Gore and George W? Or, the 2012 NPR report that there are 1.8 million deceased registered voters on the roll? Dead folks and even family pets were casting votes. It’s gotten worse.
The right to vote all started back in 1776 when each of the Founding Fathers showed up, in person, to put their “John Hancock” onto the Declaration of Independence - including Hancock himself. By signing that original ballot, the Founders forged their inalienable Rights and a direct path to freedom by choice. But they did so at their own peril.
Each and every one of the Founding Fathers knew that by signing the Declaration of Independence they were also placing a noose around their own necks for doing so. In those days, there was no such thing as a “peaceful protest.” That noose was long and “stretched” 3,000 miles across the Atlantic back to the Court of King George III. With each of the declarations they made, the Founding Fathers knew that by signing the Declaration of Independence, they would be signing away their own lives - a death sentence. That’s how seriously they took their vote and their signatures. That’s why your voting signature is still called an “Oath” to this day and must accompany your vote as a “declaration.”
244 years later, the right of every freeman - and every freewoman - is every bit as important. Back to my ballot.
Once I opened my backward and upside-down envelope, everything inside was clearly presented. Of course, in order for me to receive this requested ballot by mail, I had to first “prove my citizenship” by registering to vote. No citizen I.D? - No vote!
The first, and most important rule for any mail-in ballot, unsolicited or solicited, is that you MUST be a citizen of the United States. The US GOV website goes even further and clearly lists who by law “can’t vote”:
* “Non-citizens, including permanent legal residents.
• Some people with felony convictions.
• Some people who are mentally incapacitated.
• For President in the general election: U.S. citizens residing in U.S. territories cannot vote.” [Guam, Puerto Rico, D.C., etc.] If you remember, the big scandal in New York City was the proposal that “undocumented- aliens” would be afforded driver’s license as the only identifying document needed to allow them to register to vote. Well, that little ditty was clearly unconstitutional. The crazy belief by the powers that be in New York was that all non-U.S. citizens would be voting Democrat. Convoluted reasoning by assumption, not to mention culturally demeaning. Regardless, the truth is that every illegal vote cancels out every legal vote which is cast by a U.S. citizen. And that my friends, is simply “illegal!”
The question and justifiable fear, however, is that the entire process could be compromised by fakery, counterfeit ballots, foreign interference, forged signatures, mail fraud or all of the above. Those are real concerns. The resulting penalty for forgery alone was clearly listed on my ballot and on all ballots.
“The person rendering assistance to the elector in preparing the ballot shall sign the oath printed on the same envelope as the oath to be signed by the elector. Any person who willfully violates this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 10 years or pay a fine not to exceed $100,000.00 or both, for each such violation.”
Moral? There is a huge penalty to pay just for messing around with mail-in ballots and mail-in ballot.
This election year is far, far different due to the “Rona.” There will be millions of mail-in ballots that will take longer to count than usual. Some say days - perhaps weeks. We may not have a “legally verified” winner for months. If everyone follows the federal and state rules outlined on each ballot, then there shouldn’t be an issue. But, if only frogs had wings...
So, how can you truly protect your vote? I for one don’t trust anyone potentially canceling my vote by losing or messing with my ballot. So, come Nov. 3, I plan to hand my unsigned absentee ballot to the nice person at my local voting center and exchange that mail-in ballot for an old-fashioned “Lever.” I will take my “oath” as an American citizen and seal that oath in person with my signature. The integrity and security of my one single vote means that much to me - especially during this 2020 election.
John Hancock would have understood my reasoning.
Victor Pisano is a member of Ford Plantation.