By: Ella Connors
A new controversy has been stirring up the 2020 election: the controversy of mail-in-voting. President Trump has made his opinion abundantly clear— that mail in ballots perpetuate a fraudulent election. So what is the truth?
One important distinction that needs to be made is the difference between absentee ballots and mail-in-ballots. President Trump has praised the use of absentee ballots in the state of Florida, thinking them to be more secure, while still refusing to accept the use of mail-in-ballots in other states. Absentee voting began during the Civil War, allowing soldiers to cast their ballots in their home states. Since then, more states have adopted absentee voting in an attempt to make voting more accessible. So, in reality, the terms absentee voting and mail-in-voting can be used interchangeably. Security wise, both absentee ballots and mail-in-ballots are hand marked by the voter. In addition, 44 states have signature verification protocols.
President Trump has also claimed that by various states automatically sending out ballots to all registered voters, the Democrats are cheating. He tweeted, “Sending out 80 MILLION BALLOTS to people who aren’t even asking for a ballot is unfair and a total fraud in the making.” The ballots are only being sent to those who are registered voters, not just to “anybody in California that’s breathing” (New York Times).
Furthermore, the claim by many of Trump’s supporters and family that dead people and pets are casting their votes needs to be addressed. The idea that 846 dead people attempted to vote in the Michigan primary is simply untrue. A database of proven election fraud cases maintained and secured by the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation says that since 1991, there have been only 11 cases where someone filled out an absentee ballot on behalf of a dead person. As for pets voting? It includes only one example of a woman requesting and then casting an absentee ballot for her dog (New York Times). So is there some truth to the statement? Sure, but is it an issue of the scale the Trump following is insinuating? The research would seem to suggest not.
Finally, Donald Trump claims that mail-in-voting may lead to a rigged election. Here are the facts: There have been incidents. For instance, in Michigan, Vice President Pence was not listed as President Trumps’ running mate on 400 of the administered ballots. There is no evidence that this was done purposely, and the mistake was corrected immediately. But despite certain instances where mistakes were made, there is little history that supports the idea that mail in ballots will support one party over the other.
Now, how do students feel about this issue? Madeline, a student from outside this district, has stated that she feels, “in certain places where Corona cases are higher it is a safe alternative, and people should have the option, so they don’t skip voting.” Another student, Hailey, has stated that she thinks, “while mail-in voting is very important to give everyone a chance to vote, there is some uncertainty that comes with it.”
Overall, it is very clear that while President Trump has some mistakes pointing to a long history of mail-in-voting, and most of his concerns are not supported by the facts. The results of the election will be the official results. But most likely, fraudulent mail-in voting will not sway those results.