Is Mail-In Balloting Really A Problem?

Crystal Kalin

With this year’s 2020 presidential election coming closer than ever, concerns about mail-in ballots have been all the talk in Virginia politics. Although there is evidence stating that mail-ballot fraud is extremely rare, President Trump strongly believes that voting by mail will be one of the leading causes of voter fraud in this year’s election.

The reason that’s leading our president and many others to believe that there are many problems with mail-in ballots is because many sources and stories support the claim that it’s one of the easiest ways to commit fraud. A writer at Judicial Watch, a conservative organization that focuses on government misconduct, claims on the group’s website that “Ballot fraud is easy,” and “that the national rush to mail-in balloting has left plenty of room for fraud and error.”

An all-mail election held in Paterson, N.J, on May 12th, at the height of the pandemic, to elect new council members went completely south as it resulted in the discovery of hundreds of ballots bundled together and the arrest of 4 councilmen charged with voter fraud. To no surprise President Trump was not happy with this and was quick to respond to this news, tweeting this on the evening of July 26th:

The 2020 Election will be totally rigged if Mail-In Voting is allowed to take place, & everyone knows it. So much time is taken talking about foreign influence, but the same people won’t even discuss Mail-In election corruption. Look at Patterson, N.J. 20% of the vote was corrupted!

— President Trump

That’s not all he had to say on the topic of mail-in ballots. Back in May President Trump tweeted:

There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.

— President Trump

In a surprising July 30th tweet, Trump went as far as to suggest that the election should be delayed until people can safely vote in person.

Trump’s repeated tweets on mail-in ballots connected to voter fraud in this year’s election have led some to believe that Trump is ultimately trying to make it harder to vote by mail, and harder for votes to be counted to maximize his chances of staying in power past next January. According to Richard L. Hasen’s New York Times article, he believes “The most benign explanation for Mr. Trump’s obsessive focus on mail-in balloting is that he is looking for an excuse for a possible loss to his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, in November.” Although the President is strongly encouraging voters to vote in person for the upcoming election, The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank and opponent of vote-by-mail initiatives, created a list of voter fraud cases beginning around 1948, and out of billions of votes casted, they only found 1,277 cases of voter fraud. In addition, all states are taking precautions to prevent mail ballot fraud, such as ensuring that the voter’s signature on the back of their ballot matches their registration signature on file.

Not only has Trump continuously bashed mail-in voting but he has also questioned the postal service’s ability to adjust to the nationwide processing & delivery of the ballots. However, according to CNN, The United States Postal Service responded confidently that it did indeed have the ability to handle the mass numbers of mail-in-ballots in November’s election, but many raised questions about the USPS’s existing problematic finances, which the pandemic only exacerbated. Because the finances were getting out of control the USPS warned congress in April it would be out of money by September and requested a $75 billion emergency fund. In the CARES Act package for the Coronavirus, $25 billion was already set aside for the USPS, however, Trump blocked the funding and refused to sign anything. On August 13th, Abby. D. Phillip, a White House correspondent with CNN tweeted Trump’s clear reasoning as to why he won’t fund USPS… “Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots…But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting…” Many people were outraged after finding out that Trump directly admitted defunding the USPS for election interference, and many started seeking other ways to vote during this pandemic.

Some agree that the measures Trump is taking to prevent mail ballot fraud are reasonable. However, others see the measures Trump is taking as unjust, corrupt, and selfish, and point to his admission he was taking these measures to interfere with the election as justification for that assessment. In the end, however, when it comes down to the “how” of voting it should be completely up to the voters to decide. Even if the majority of voters chose mail in ballots their right to decide will ensure a fair election takes place to elect the right candidate to govern the nation.