(By Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rassmussen)
The legislature has passed a law to require ballot drop boxes in various places throughout the county. These boxes would have to be purchased, installed, and maintained by the counties. This law comes into effect in July and counties must comply with this law, but the state has not provided any money for the counties to use to comply.
It is normal for the state to impose this sort of thing on us. A law will be passed without providing the necessary funds for local governments to comply. This puts a continual squeeze on county government to fund more and more of these projects and programs required by law. This is so common, there is even a name for it: an unfunded mandate.
At first this might seem to be a plausibly good idea. More places to drop ballots. But consider, if there are more places to drop ballots, then there are more places from which ballots can be stolen, more places from which the ballots must be collected, (at exactly 8 p.m. on election day) by teams of one member from each party and maybe a neutral observer, (to insure no tampering with the ballots) not to mention the cost of the box itself. It must be tamper proof, weather proof, installed in concrete, and will cost a pretty penny just to purchase. The boxes would be subject to damage by vehicles. All of the above (and there are probably more problems with the idea) would be at county expense.
All this in addition to the ballot drops boxes that are already spread throughout the county! These are in the form of US Mail boxes. The only thing that this would accomplish would be that the folks who are voting would not have to put a stamp on the envelope they mail in. I suspect that voters do not mind putting a stamp on their ballot in order to vote.
This is a solution in search of a problem. There is nothing wrong with the present system and nothing to be gained by this legislation. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. A wise person I know once said, “Nobody is as dumb as all of us.” The legislature is all of us, and in my opinion, this is a very dumb idea.
WSAC and WACO, the associations of County Governments and Officials, are mounting challenges to this legislation and our county commissioners are firmly in support of those challenges. Lets hope they are successful and this can be changed. No one needs this. It is just a burden without a benefit.