Bethel city council has voted against replacing polling stations with mail-in ballots for the upcoming city elections.
Council member Chuck Herman introduced the plan and argued for its passage, saying that the proposal could increase voter turnout by making voting more convenient.
“It’s just an attempt to allow those who wanted to vote but they had to pick up their kids from school, they had to work, all these myriad [of] reasons why people can’t make it to the polls and vote. It allowed them the opportunity to vote,” Herman said.
Council member Leif Albertson opposed the change, saying by-mail voting could foster voting fraud and allow peer pressure to seep into the voting process.
“Opens up an opportunity for influence. For coercion, that you don’t see in a ballot booth when you’re by yourself in a closed space,” Albertson said.
The council chose to vote down the measure in a 2-5 vote with Herman and Vice Mayor Byron Maczynski voting for its passage.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misquoted Herman as saying 'mired' not 'myriad,' and also reported the measure was tabled when it actually failed permanently, and final vote count as 4 to 3 instead of 5 to 2. These corrections have been made.