A bill proposed by Secretary of State Linda McCulloch would allow counties to hold elections by mail, just like they already do in some municipal elections.
The bill has drawn opposition from both sides of the political spectrum, and indications are the McCulloch proposal won’t see the light of day this year.
That’s too bad.
Mail-in voting is is less expensive and far more effective than any other method of voting, and we hope sooner or later Montana will adopt the plan.
Havre municipal elections are already conducted by mail, and it has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of voters.
While the change would result in a loss of Americana — the Norman Rockwell image of us gathering together on Election Day to pick our leaders — it would give a voice to people who have not had it in the past.
Busy people could easily cast their ballots from home. Despite fears, there is not any indication whatsoever that fraud will slip into the voting process.
Some of the opposition comes from people who have traditionally opposed efforts to get more people to vote. Some recently tried to repeal same-day registration because they feared it causes too much work for county clerk and recorders. Mail-in voting has proven to be easier for election workers, but legislative concern for county workload vanished in its case.
On the other side of the coin, groups supporting the rights of Native Americans, the poor, disabled and elderly were concerned that their folks, people who tend to move often or live far from post offices, may have a hard time connecting to the election system.
Those problems, we’re sure, can be resolved.
The benefits far outweigh the problems. With a little work, the mail-in ballot could be reworked to please those of all political ideologies and all ethnic and class groups.