Policy: Personalized Printed Ballots for In Person Voting
There has been a heavy emphasis on vote-by-mail policy this year, but in-person voting still needs improvement too. According to a poll released in July, 38% of Americans say they’d prefer to vote by mail, 59% preferred in person. A majority of voters this year will walk into a physical polling place, and we have a responsibility to make that process as simple as possible as well. As an aside, vote-by-mail is safe and no evidence exists that the process, which Minnesota has had for decades, invites fraud.
Currently in Minnesota, if you are voting in person, you must vote in a polling place which is assigned to you based on your home address. This polling place is equipped with the appropriate ballots for the various school board, county-level, and other local elections that cover your address.
Other states allow a voter to vote at any polling location in the state. New Mexico calls them Voting Convenience Centers and several cities in Colorado follow this model as well. When you walk in and confirm who you are, they print off a custom personalized ballot for you right there on the spot that has all the appropriate election information. This method has a broad array of benefits.
If there is a polling place closer to your work, you can just vote there. If you’re visiting family or are on business elsewhere in the state, you can vote there. If you go to your polling place and there is a long line but your friend nearby says their polling place has no line, you can go vote there. If you live close to a county line and a different polling place in the other county is closer than the one you would have otherwise been assigned in your own county, you can go vote there. If you are carpooling with a friend or family member to vote, you can vote wherever they are voting. If you are
It is also a method of increasing election security. Since the whole state has an active database of which ballots have been printed off, if anywhere in the state someone attempts to print the same ballot a second time, that can be immediately flagged and investigated.
Personalized printed ballots increase the convenience and security of the voting process. It is a model that already exists in other places. It is a model that Minnesota should adopt now in order to help all of our voters who cast their ballots in person.