Is mail-in voting a good idea?

President Trump says this November’s election will be “rigged” if we allow mail-in ballots.

He’s said it before: Leading up to the 2016 election, he claimed the election was “rigged” as a result of mail-in ballots (and fake news).  Turns out, it was rigged–but through Russia interference. Nevertheless, because election integrity is essential to a democracy, making the claim that the election will be unfair is terrifying.

We all want a safe and fair election.

mail-in voting is unfair

mail-in voting fraud makes sense

The idea that we can register a dog and get a mail-in ballot; or that we can receive a mail-in ballot from a state where we no longer live; or that deceased people can receive a mail-in ballot that can then be used by someone else–seems like an opportunity to double-vote or steal a ballot. Mail-in voting occurs outside the reach of polling station workers that monitor who can vote.

mail-in voting fraud has been documented

For example, recently mail-in voting fraud was seen in a Paterson, New Jersey election in which a stack of uncounted ballots were found after the official count had been made. This stack, along with additional problems, resulted in election officials rejecting 19% of the election’s ballots.

Additionally, the Heritage The Heritage Foundation has documented almost 1,300 instances of fraud, including absentee ballot fraud.

the post office can’t handle it

Mail delivery has slowed because of recent changes following the appointment of a new postmaster general, including reduced overtime and the removal of mail-sorting machines. The post office has stated that in at least 46 states mailed ballots won’t make their counting deadlines.

With that, President Trump said he opposes election aid for states and an emergency bailout for the Postal Service because he doesn’t want mail-in voting.

mail-in voting is not accessible to all

People who don’t have physical addresses, those who can’t read, or those who can’t get to a mailbox are disenfranchised by mail-in ballots.

mail-in voting is vital to the Covid-landscaped 2020 election

we’re already doing it

All states allow ballots for sick or absent voters. Five states already allow everyone to use mail-in ballots. Another 16 states allow it for some elections or in some remote counties. And, in the 2019 midterms, 1/4 of all ballots were cast through the mail.

voter fraud is not significant

Study after study has found that the amount of fraudulent votes is insignificant to upend an election. Check out a list here.

don’t forget: 2016 fraud allegations were investigated by Trump

President Trump has claimed that “millions” voted illegally in 2016. After his election, he formed a commission to investigate. The commission was disbanded by January 2018, having found no evidence of widespread fraud.

barriers to fraudulent mail-in voting

States have varying rules with regard to elections. Here’s a sampling of those that affect mail-in ballots:

In Colorado, voters can track their ballots progress through the electoral process via texts. One is sent when the ballot is mailed, then when it is returned to the election board, and finally when it has been counted.

Most states require a signature on the envelope that is then compared to a registration signature by a poll worker.

Some states include a bar code on the envelope, which is used to identify duplicate ballots.

Generally, all ballots require voters to provide information like birth date or Social Security or driver’s license number.

fraudulent voting is too difficult to throw an election

Fraud in mail-in ballots is generally used in smaller elections with smaller voting numbers. Think about it: it would require enormous numbers of fraudulent votes to swing a presidential election in which well over a hundred million people vote. And, since elections are locally controlled, mail-in ballots look different in different areas, making it even more difficult to put together a massive flood of fraud votes.

If you wanted to affect an election outcome, rather than faking individual ballots perhaps it would make more sense to use social media to influence huge numbers of voters. Just saying.

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