Here’s what then-Thurston County auditor Sam Reed said about vote by mail and poll voting when he was a candidate for Secretary of State in 2000:
“I do think that many people want the ceremony, the interaction, the flags, the election board workers, and such, in order to feel like they are truly participating in our American political system,” Reed wrote. “We need to continue to provide that ‘election day fix’ for those people.
“But as times change and our American society changes, the way we shop, the way we bank, the way we telecommunicate, and the way we vote change. Vote by mail (and, in the future, online voting) is creating new rituals for democracy. In my opinion, these are healthy democratic rituals and are the future.
“After running a number of countywide vote-by-mail elections and creating several vote-by-mail precincts, I’ve concluded that elections of the future should not be conducted one way but rather should be a smorgasbord of choices – poll site, mail, and online. Each will have his or her own democratic rituals that develop and gain importance over time.”
And here’s what he said today after his bill to end poll voting in the state was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, making Washington just the second all-mail voting state in the nation:
“Vote-by-mail has been very successful in Washington, including in Pierce County. It simplifies things for the voter and for the election administrators not to have two parallel methods of voting. It is less expensive and I believe it boosts voter participation.
“Even before counties started switching, many voters themselves decided that this is the way they prefer to vote, over a period of several weeks, in the privacy and convenience of their own homes.”