Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thou shalt not drop off thy neighbor's ballot

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 5:46 PM

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Lois Beardsly was clearly upset when she walked through our doors Thursday morning.

"This is utterly and completely ridiculous!" she told me. "The city seems to have done everything they could possibly do to make it nearly impossible for people to perform their civic duty."

Here's what Lois was getting at: There's a city code that states that you can only drop off up to five ballots at a drop-off location.

City Clerk Kathryn Young says the law was modeled after a state law that had the same limit (though the state has since changed the law to allow up to 10). Young says the law exists to prevent campaigns from collecting ballots from whole neighborhoods, and possibly improperly influencing an election.

The policy, however, really ruined Lois' morning. She had driven across town to drop off her and her neighbors' ballots. Lois lives around a lot of senior citizens, and many of them have lately fallen sick with the flu. Lois wanted to be a good neighbor, so she offered to drop off their sealed, signed ballots for them.

"I'm saving postage, I'm saving gasoline, and I'm saving wear and tear for a bunch of women who have been under the weather," Lois told me.

Well, you know what they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Lois, however, was eventually allowed to drop off the ballots, and her name was written down. (Young says that's standard policy to keep someone from returning with even more ballots.)

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