By County Supervisor Sue Frost
On June 6th of this year, Sacramento County voted to fundamentally change the way we vote in all of our future elections. Previously, you had the choice to either mail in an absentee ballot, or to go physically vote at one of the 6 Rancho Murieta polling locations. Now, the number of Rancho Murieta polling locations will be dramatically cut down to likely only 1 location, you can physically go in and vote several days before Election Day, and everyone will be mailed an absentee ballot whether you want it or not.
I was the sole vote against this change, so I want to take the opportunity to explain why.
Firstly, I am deeply concerned that this will open the door to more voter fraud. This change is occurring at the same time automatic voter registration is going into effect. Consequently, thousands of ballots will be automatically mailed to people who may have moved, who may not realize or remember that they are registered to vote, or who may have no intention of voting. This would mean thousands of absentee ballots in circulation that may not reach the intended recipients or that may be discarded due to the fact that it is unexpected. These ballots become ripe targets for fraud.
Secondly, I think this will be far more difficult to implement than is expected. In Denver, a similar program led to technical glitches and long lines. They had to hire hundreds of additional workers (rather than poll volunteers), purchased hundreds of new machines, and some people had to wait in line for hours. In Arizona, news reports showed some wait times of 5 hours or more due to the technical problems. This is unacceptable in a modern democracy.
Lastly, and most importantly, my district is opposed to it. In a professional survey of Sacramento County, it was found that only 33% of people in my district were in support of this change. People who answered the survey were used to voting at their traditional polling place, are concerned about voter fraud, and are concerned about having to drive 5-10x further in order to vote. Further, my district is concerned that this burden will fall disproportionately on those who are less mobile, the poor, disabled, and the elderly.
In the end I knew that I would be the only vote against this proposal and that this change would come, but in my heart I knew that I wouldn’t be doing a good job representing Rancho Murieta if I voted for something you are opposed to, and something I have so many lingering concerns about. My colleagues who voted for this change had good reasons for doing so, with the most persuasive reason being that it may reduce costs. But in my experience, everything the government does comes with a higher price tag than anticipated.
Thank you for reading – and as always, if you want to contact me, call me at 916-874-5491 or e-mail me at SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.
Sue Frost represents the 4th District, which includes all or part of the communities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Antelope, Rio Linda, Elverta, Gold River, Rancho Murieta, North Highlands, Carmichael, Foothill Farms and Fair Oaks.