Friday, January 23, 2015

HB 283

Keith Regier

Revise absentee and mail ballot laws


  1. Rebecca Connors on Jan 27, 2015:

    AGAINST. I do support the elimination of the unvoted party envelope, but am against removing the secrecy envelope.

    A) MC has $60,000 to $75,000 or more in envelopes in inventory we would need to discard if we were to move forward with something new. If we order in bulk for future elections, we get a huge price-break, hence the large inventory.

    B) It is unsound to invest and move forward with an untested product.

    C) We use the affirmation envelope for correspondence with voters. They can return election forms to us in the affirmation while keeping their voting private since its in the secrecy.

    D) 1/3 (maybe even 1/2) voters put their return address on the return envelope. Even if we tear off the perforated tab, there is still indicators of who that voter is with return address information.

    E) I've seen many affirmation envelopes come back pretty ragged from USPS. But by having the ballot in an additional envelope offers the ballot protection both physically and secrecy wise.

    F) I talked to my printer about this change and described to him the proposed envelope and since it is such a unique item, it would require a very early lead time and it may be more expensive than the combination of the two (affirmation + secrecy). The secrecy envelope is a very standard envelope (#10 size) and is always available for short notice orders. It also cost us $.05 in November per envelope. The signature/affirmation envelope is as well a very standard envelope (#11) and can be readily available. It cost us $.07/envelope in November. The overall total for envelopes was $.18 (outer mailing window+affirmation/signature+secrecy). My printer anticipates the special envelope to start at $.18 and that does not include the outer mailing envelope to send it off to the voter in.

    G) Finally, we have crammed as much text on to the affirmation/signature envelope as we possibly can. I have no clue where we would add additional text regarding the secrecy function of that envelope.

  2. Sent the following on HB 283 to Rep Bennett on House State Admin:

    Missoula County opposes House Bill 283 - Revise absentee and mail ballot laws, before House State Administration tomorrow morning. While eliminating the unvoted party envelope in a primary election would be acceptable, eliminating the secrecy envelope would be problematic for several reasons: operationally, for the voter, and for election integrity. The secrecy envelope is critical in segregating personal identification from the way in which an individual votes. In addition, it provides an additional safeguard against damage to the ballot that can occur in the mail. Please oppose HB 283.
    Vickie Zeier on behalf of the Missoula County Commissioners


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