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Should Polling Places Be Eliminated?

A general election can cost a county $1.5 million, a bill that could be greatly reduced if voting was done entirely through the mail.

A general election can cost a county about $1.5 million, a sizeable chunk of cash given the ongoing fiscal crisis most jurisdictions are in.

But what if all voting was conducted with mail-in ballots instead of at the polls, a move that could save up to 50 percent, according to a just-released Sonoma County Grand Jury report.

Would you support moving to an all vote-by-mail system? Vote in our poll below.

It can cost a county up to $6.38 a voter to process a ballot filled out at a polling place, but only $3 per voter to process a ballot that has been mailed in, the study found.

Mail-in rates are rising statewide, but some voters say they enjoy walking into a polling place and filling out the ballot at the voting stand. And don’t forget the “I Voted" sticker, which many proudly wear to show that they actively engage in the democratic process.

Still, setting up the voting stations and transporting the ballots to the county elections office is costly and time-consuming. Ultimately, however, any change to how elections are conducted would have to occur through the state legislature.

Let us know how you feel. Would you be in favor of eliminating in-person voting at polling stations? Why or why not?

Frank Keenan July 17, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Cost savings can be realized by further consolidation of the number of polling places. The polling place I run in Ross Valley consists of three precincts.
Tina McMillan July 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM
The system here use to be that the polling site had your name and address on a preprinted list and you signed by your name prior to receiving a ballot. Though I vote by mail I am worried about voter fraud if we go to an all mail in process. I think the real issue is getting more people to actually vote. The election in June had such a poor turnout and it included a new supervisor seat here in Novato that very few people were aware of. Novato use to be all Judy Arnold, now Steve Kinsey has a small portion. Doesn't make any sense to me how they drew this new boundary.
Susan Wreden July 17, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I prefer to vote in person. I'd also be worried about fraud with mail-in ballots. I've heard people talking about filling out their spouses absentee ballot and mailing it in for them. Also, the mail seems to be coming much slower lately.
Gretta C. July 18, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Well said Frank and Susan and Tina. I think there can be mail fraud. For example if you are a county worker and you see a ballot coming in from let's say, Michael Frank, you know he is not going to vote Republican, but vote for the most extreme liberals---his ballot could be easily "lost" by someone who didn't not share his viewpoints at the county. However the county workers want to stay employed, have lush pensions , every ground hog day off and call in sick once a month, so they might want to duplicate Frank's ballot instead of throwing it away.
Brant July 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
We should eliminate vote by mail for all but those incapable of voting in person. Vote by mail invites voter fraud. In addition, it results in individual votes being based on differing information, depending on when the ballots are mailed.

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