Simple Economics of Mail-In Ballots

Mail-in ballots give us voters lots of flexibility about requesting them, filling them out, and mailing them back.
But this comes at a cost: some postage to request the ballot and more postage to return it. For some persons that additional out-of-pocket cost is a deal breaker, so they get pushed into voting early or voting on the main election day, mostly a Tuesday.
Let's look at this more closely:
For a person who is unemployed. extra money for a mail-in ballot reduces their funds for other needs.
On the other hand (OTOH), for a person WITH a job, there is a dollar trade-off: The pay given up to go vote versus the cost of the mail-in ballot process.
OK, let's try some rough numbers: mail-in ballot: $0.50 to send in a ballot request form plus a gracious $1.50 for mailing back the large envelope ballot. Total $2.00. {Cost shifting: have ballot-return envelope be postage-paid; the public would bear the cost, just as they do for costs at all the in-person voting sites.}
Now taking two hours of work at a low wage of $7.50 per hour = $15.00 of wages foregone.
Which would we prefer, simply on the basis of dollars: Clearly paying $2.00 while earning $15 for a net pay of $13 is a far better economic deal than leaving work to vote.
Well there are some other reasons to vote on election day: you like to chat with folks at the polls, you like the sense of community: we're all going to do this together even if we vote for different candidates. Etc.
Still, even a poorly paid worker who must go off the time clock to vote, is economically better off using a mail-in ballot unless the voting site is just around the corner from the place of work and there are no lines at the voting site.
Onward to mail-in ballots: Request it.
Print it and fill out at home and return it by mail.
Submit this form [ballot] to the voter’s county board of elections no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the date of the election. [That is 30 October 2018.] This form may be mailed, faxed, emailed, or delivered in person. Visit www.ncsbe.gov for the contact information for all county boards of elections.
The status of your absentee request may also be checked on this website.


Receive your ballot and a special envelope by mail. 
You will need two witnesses when you have completed your ballot and are ready to mail it. They need not see your ballot, but they do need to see you sign the envelope and witness that act.

November 6 5:00 p.m.

Absentee ballots delivered to the Board of Elections must be received by 5:00 p.m. If mailing your ballot, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Lunch at the Media

As the saying goes, "There is no free lunch." To which I would add, "But there are free riders." So, activat...