Mail in Voting



In the midst of the worldwide pandemic we are all currently living in and the 2020 Presidential Election, many voters are concerned with the safety of coming to vote. Voting is undeniably one of our most important rights as American citizens. With two very different candidates running for office, the future of our nation rests in the hands of voters. Going to the polls is incredibly important, and also dangerous with the risk of Covid -19. Stopping the spread of this pandemic is crucial to everyone's health, but going to vote is crucial to everyone's life in general as American citizens.


Mail in voting solves two problems. First, mail in voting will prevent the need/want to delay the election. Second, it will allow us to vote in the safety of our own home.


So what's the problem? What are the concerns? Let's look at booth sides.

 

Reasons to support mail in voting


(All of this information was taken directly from The Thread - Should Vote by Mail be Required in All States? Link in sources section)


Many States Already Have Vote By Mail Options, With Limited Documented Fraud.

  • Five states already run all-mail elections and at least 21 more (including 2020 swing states) already have mail in ballot options upon request. National Conference of State Legislatures

  • Between 2000 and 2012, the News21 election database only recorded 2,068 of alleged election fraud. While absentee ballots were the most prevalent type of fraud (24%), this still only amounted to 491 cases in 12 years. News21

Voting By Mail Increases Voter Access And Turnout.

  • When Oregon implemented vote by mail elections early studies show that voter turnout increased by 10%. American Politics Quarterly

  • The main effect of mail in options is increasing the magnitude rather than changing the composition of voters  -- meaning critics' concerns that mail-in options may favor one political party or the other may be unfounded. Political Science and Politics

Voting By Mail Is Cheaper And Safer.

  • Jurisdictions may save money because they no longer need to staff traditional polling places with poll workers and equip each location with voting machines. Oregon claims a savings of 30% by transitioning away from polling places. American Politics Research

  • Mail-in would also be safer in the context of COVID-19. It would be “irresponsible to require people to vote in person in the midst of a pandemic. Dramatically lower turnout would inevitably distort the results.” Mercatus

 

Reasons to oppose mail in voting


(All of this information was taken directly from The Thread - Should Vote by Mail be Required in All States? Link in sources section)


Vote By Mail Increases Risk Of Fraud.

  • Because the ballot is cast outside the public eye, the opportunities for coercion and voter impersonation are greater. Coercion by family members, employers, union leaders, religious leaders, or others might occur. National Conference of State Legislatures

  • Voter registration rolls are notoriously inaccurate, containing names of voters who are deceased, have moved, or otherwise have become ineligible.  In 2018, California was sued over maintaining 1.5 million inactive voter files.  CATO Institute, JW v. Logan Settlement

  • According to MIT Election Data, “even many scholars who argue that fraud is generally rare agree that fraud with voting by mail seems to be more frequent than with in-person voting.” MIT Election Data and Science Lab

A Mail Option Doesn’t Actually Increase Turnout Over The Long Run.

  • In Oregon, voter turnout rose temporarily as a result of the novelty of the first vote by mail type of election, but subsequently reverted to previous levels. The Social Science Journal

  • Recent work indicates that vote by mail has mixed effects on turnout. Some negative effect on turnout in statewide general elections but a stronger positive effect in local (8%). Large (10%) positive effects in national elections are short-lived. Election Law Journal

It’s Expensive To Set Up And Requires Rigor To Maintain.

  • While cheaper in the long run, there are significant costs and challenges associated with the initial establishment of a vote-by-mail system. States will need up-to-date addresses, tracking systems, printing costs, and verification methods. It would be extremely difficult to implement a vote by mail system in all states ahead of the November election. (Please note that the researchers at Mercatus still recommend the Vote by Mail option despite the listed costs.) Mercatus

 

"Most voters approve of voting by mail ahead of a presidential election plagued by coronavirus concerns, and an overwhelming majority agree the contest should proceed as scheduled on Nov. 3, according to the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. The survey, released Wednesday (August 5th), shows 58 percent of respondents saying the U.S. “should allow all voters to vote by mail in elections this year” to help slow the spread of the highly contagious disease, which public health experts warn could endanger physical polling places." (Quint Forgey - POLITICO - Poll: Majority support voting by mail, bucking Trump)


Among the Democrats, 81 percent are for allowing everyone to vote by mail, and 57 percent of independents did too. Only 33 percent of Republicans agreed.


If I had to make on assumption on why only 33% of Republicans are for mail in voting, I would say that they were following their Republican President, Donald Trump. Trump has been very adamant in his strong disliking of mail in voting. It seems as if most Republicans are following his message and listening to him.


 
 

Sources-


Vox

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/5/23/17383400/vote-by-mail-home-california-alaska-nebraska

(Used for main photo that did not originate from their websites)

The simple voting reform that works wherever it’s tried

Recent experiments in Alaska and Nebraska show voting by mail dramatically boosts turnout.


CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/23/politics/trump-mail-in-voting-gop/index.html Trump campaign has to work overtime to counter the President's message on mail-in voting

By Michael Warren and Kristen Holmes, CNN


The Thread

https://www.thethreadweekly.com/news/vote-by-mail-pros-cons

Should Vote by Mail be Required in All States?

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