As South Carolina faces the prospect of spending millions of dollars to buy new voting machines, Oregon’s system of vote by mail offers a model that could not only save us money but also eliminate long lines and increase security for election results. Oregon’s system is used for all elections — federal, state and local, whether primary, general or special — and has been in operation for roughly 25 years. One result is increased voter participation by working parents and senior citizens. The system makes voter fraud virtually impossible, and research has shown that it favors neither party. The idea originated with Oregon county election officials and has fully met their goals of substantially saving money and increasing voter participation. Voting by mail has been adopted in whole or part by three Western states, and South Carolina could become a leader in showing it works in the South.
Twenty days before each election, ballots are mailed by county election officials to every voter. Ballots are customized to the address so that they include only the federal, state and local elections for the recipient’s precinct.
Any registered voter who doesn’t receive a ballot by mail or loses one can go to the elections office and get one.
Ballot integrity is ensured by the voter signing the return envelope on the outside and the election officials visually matching that signature to the signature on file with the voter’s registration. The ballot itself is in a separate inside envelope. Once the signatures are matched, the inside envelope is separated from the outside one and the ballot scanned electronically to record it, which ensures a secret ballot.
Full Article: A new model for S.C. elections? | The State.