Mail-In Voting Should Be The Norm
The last time I remember anyone hating the mail as much as Donald Trump hates mail-in ballots, it was Jerry Seinfeld railing against his meddling neighbor, Newman. Except, while Jerry's gripes against all things stamped are fairly benign in consequence, it feels like Donald Trump and the Republican Party are just worried that mail-in balloting will hurt their election chances. Case in point, Donald Trump trying to link mail-in balloting with election fraud in tweets out like this:
There are a few things wrong this tweet, not the least of which is that mail-in ballots and absentee ballots are pretty much the same thing (absentee is requested by individuals, mail-in gets sent to every registered voter). But the main thing worthy of correcting is that wide-scale voter fraud is practically impossible with mail-in ballots. Each ballot would have to be tracked down in the mail, stolen, and then meticulously forged all for one vote. Compare that to hacking a voting booth, which gives access to thousands of votes, and suddenly mail-in voting seems the much safer alternative.
However, there is a serious issue in regards to mail-in ballots, and it's a concern that runs in the opposite direction of Trump, much like any person, who has had the misfortune of seeing him naked. I'm talking, of course, about the prevalence of uncounted mail-in ballots. According to an NPR analysis in primary elections held so far this year, at least 65,000 absentee or mail-in ballots have been rejected because they arrived past the deadline, often through no fault of the voter."
It's only a small percentage - close to 1% in most states - but we know how crucial 1% can be in swinging an election. So why is this happening? Because right now, the requirements to successfully cast are so stringent you'd think the state was trying to get you to marry it. Again, according to NPR:
"Among the main targets are witness and signature requirements for absentee ballots such as signing the envelope, or getting a witness or notary to sign it, or making sure the voter's signature is legible."
There is currently a legal fight over the stringency of mail-in ballot requirements with a number of states loosening restrictions on these ballots in an effort to protect citizens from COVID by preventing them from having to show up to polls in-person. Here's a video from Vox that explains how voting by mail is widely beneficial for turnout (and actually doesn't advantage one party over the other) and why it's so critical to ensuring we have a safe and fair election this year.
But herein lies our mail-in voting paradox. We need mail-in ballots to ensure a fair and safe election, but our current laws make mail-in voting potentially disenfranchising. It's why we need to tackle this problem now so that by November there can be no doubt as to the veracity of our elections.
Top Image: Rob Crandall/Shutterstock, Linda Parton/Shutterstock