Voter suppression has haunted America since our founding, and it’s still a problem today. The latest version is a misinformation campaign to cast doubt on mail-in ballots. My story is a small testimony in support of Colorado’s mail-in ballot system, which has been running smoothly since 2013.
How Voter Fraud Almost Happened to Me
I have a problem with procrastination. Sometimes I leave important administrative tasks on the table until an arbitrary turning point in my schedule when I get with the program—fast! Voting is one of the tasks I tend to leave until the last minute.
For seven years now, my family and I have been voting by mail. We live in a well-run state—not to mention the most glorious state in the union. Colorado is beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain / for purple mountain majesty, above the fruited plain.
Another great thing about our state is vote-by-mail. In Colorado, we get to tinker with our ballots in the privacy of our homes. We get to read the ballot slowly, collaborate with family to research candidates and proposed amendments. We get to google around and take our time. We get to debate the vote with family and friends. In short, we get to be thoughtful voters.
We are glad that our under-resourced neighbors, those who work night shifts, parents with kids at home and those caring for ill family members don’t have to stand in line at polls or skip voting because of life obligations.
So, once upon a time in 2014, in the wonderland of Colorado, I completed my ballot and left it lying on the kitchen table, unsealed and unsigned. Privileged procrastinator.
I was headed out of state for some type of meeting, and in the scramble to get out the door I failed to complete the voting task.
Fast forward two weeks when I get a strange piece of mail. It’s a letter from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. I wish I had saved it for this very moment in history when fear-mongers are spinning tales about voter fraud by mail. I would love to share my evidence with the whole world. Thanks to Marie Kondo, the letter is gone.
The Secretary’s letter informed me that someone had attempted to commit voter fraud in my name. The vote-counting squad knew this because the signature on my outer envelope was a—forgery.
You should know that I live with people who do not procrastinate on important administrative tasks. When one such person saw my pile of mail and unfinished paperwork still on the kitchen table after my departure, they were concerned. The person rifled through the pile to see if there was anything important in the stack. They found the ballot. They signed my name, sealed it and mailed it off.
But they didn’t get away with it. Even though my whole family is skilled at forgery, the secretary of state has one-up. The fraud detection system spotted the forgery and took swift action!
Needless to say, I didn’t press charges.
Have a wonderful final week of October and be sure to voice your vote. It’s a message that will be heard forever. Need help? Try vote.org.
Final note: I voted on Wednesday with nearly two weeks to spare!