Mail-In Voting: Fear of Fraud and Failure

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Makayla Meijer

Election Day is coming up soon! November 3rd, 2020, registered voters will be selecting the next President of The United States of America.

Because of concerns over Covid-19, mail-in voting will become the method that most Americans will turn to. Voters will be expected to cast their ballots sent to them by mail and then send it out to their local election office. 

CBS This Morning decided to experiment to see how long it would take for people to mail back their vote after casting their ballot. They tested this out in Philadelphia by setting up a P.O Box to represent a local election office and created test ballots for a trial run. 

These mock ballots were designed almost identically to the actual ballots. They were the same size, design, and weight. The first 100 ballots were sent out to different locations in Philadelphia and then mailed to the P.O Box. On day one, 100 ballots were sent out. 

Out of the first 100 ballots, only 97 returned, which means that if these represented real votes, 3% of those votes wouldn’t count. The 100 ballots sent out after that had even worse results. Only 79 ballots were sent back. If these were real votes, 21% wouldn’t count. In all, that’s 24/200 lost votes, which could make a huge difference in this election.

Other concerns are in regards to the fact that mail-in-ballots are proven to be the most vulnerable to being forged, altered, stolen or to go missing. The recent City Council election in Paterson, New Jersey has proved this. 16,747 ballots were sent out, and only 13,557 votes were counted. Overall, this means that 19% of votes didn’t count. The Board of Elections disqualified 2,300 more ballots due to signatures not matching the signature on their voting record. The election had to be re-done due to this result.

Some Sultana students have mixed opinions about mail-in voting. Brandy Bantau prefers in-person voting because “it gives you the thrill of voting.” Brandy also pointed out that, “votes that could be crucial to the campaign would get lost in the mail.” 

Jacob Maestas questioned, “Why can’t you vote in person if you just wear a mask? Shouldn’t it be fine since masks supposedly work?” While Jacob brings up a good point, there are a few concerns with in-person voting.  Depending on how crowded a polling place becomes, it could violate CDC’s guidelines.  In some places, there is a shortage of volunteers willing to work the polls due to the risk.

Victor Hernandez thinks that mail-in voting is the safest option: “I think personally, it’s good because we’re at home, lowering the risk of Covid.”  Shawn Cervantes agrees, “I think it is a good idea. You don’t have to see anyone to vote, and it really helps everyone out without the hassle of going somewhere and being susceptible to the virus. There are worse ways to vote, and there are better ways to vote. I think this works just fine.”

Overall, Sultans have different views on mail-in voting. Overall, Americans don’t know what to expect with the upcoming election but what is clear is that this voting experience can impact America in many ways. Voting fraud and lost votes are likely to happen, but all we can do is hope for the best.