Vote-by-Mail Remarks (Millecchia) – City Council Meeting October 16, 2012

By Lyndell Millecchia

I am speaking in support of the Vote-by-Mail Pilot Program. I really liked the convenience of the 2011 election, and felt it was very successful. Yes, the cost for the first election was unexpectedly high. However, the number of voters was significantly higher than the 2009 traditional election, and the cost per vote was less. In the report prepared by the City Clerk for tonight’s meeting, the estimated costs for the vote-by-mail election in 2013 would be only slightly more than with a traditional election: $17,894 vote-by-mail vs. $13,622 traditional.

Voting methods have changed greatly over the years*. At one time, people had to bring their own ballots to the polls, and if they misspelled a name, it wasn’t counted! Gear and Lever Voting machines – with curtains for privacy – were innovations in the 1900’s. Today we are in the middle of a “test drive” for the vote-by-mail process. I feel strongly that the pilot program should be completed. What is learned in the process will be invaluable.

I am glad the city council is very careful to be fiscally responsible. However, in this case, should the bottom line be total cost, or total voter turnout? I encourage you to continue the vote-by-mail pilot program in 2013.

*A history of voting methods can be found in an article by Jill Lepore “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, The New Yorker, October 13, 2008

Note from editor:  On October 30th citizens will have the opportunity to comment on Vote by Mail at the Committee of the Whole meeting at Morgantown City Council.  DO NOT miss this important opportunity to participate for the sake of increasing participation at elections!