Election 2020

America Is Going To Vote by Mail. We're Not Ready.

President Trump threatens to delay the election over at-home voting, but a bigger problem looms: States haven’t prepared for a huge influx of mail-in ballots.


On Tuesday, March 10, voters in five states went to the polls to cast primary election ballots, making former Vice President Joe Biden the Democratic Party's all-but-certain presidential nominee in the process. It was probably the last approximately "normal" election night America will have this year.

That same day, the 1,000th positive test for COVID-19 was recorded in the United States. Over the next few days, professional and college sports leagues abruptly halted their seasons, and governors across the country were ordering schools, bars, and theaters to close, telling people to stay home whenever possible. A week later, on March 17, three other states held primaries in what was now anything but an ordinary environment. The 100th American to die of the disease passed away that night.

But on March 10, in that last moment of seeming normalcy, there was a sixth state which also had its primary votes tallied. In Washington state, more than 1.5 million people voted in the Democratic primary, and Biden squeaked out ahead by about 21,000 votes.

Nearly every vote was cast by mail.

In the middle of March, Washington conducting an election almost entirely by mail made it something of an oddity in American politics. By November, it will probably seem much more normal. The coronavirus has killed tens of thousands of Americans, ended the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, and forced us to reconsider every form of human interaction. Among them is the foundation of democratic society: voting.

Not all votes will be cast by mail or by absentee ballot in November. But the volume of what could be called "socially distanced voting" is going to be far higher than in any previous election. States, voters, media, and the election's combatants may not be prepared for what that means.

As mail-in voting expands, it's going to face political pressure from a president who is adamantly opposed to the practice, and logistical challenges from states attempting to build mail-in voting systems on the fly amid an already challenging environment. When Election Day finally arrives in November, it's going to mean longer waits before all votes are counted—and possibly a longer period of uncertainty about who won—than ever before. Perhaps more worryingly, it could escalate distrust in a political system polarized to its breaking point.

President Donald Trump is already stoking fears about those uncertainties. "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA," he tweeted in July. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" Republicans, however, were quick to reject Trump's suggestion of delay. But the underlying issues remain. Like it or not, mail-in voting is coming—and we're not ready.

"We are in times of high polarization, high distrust in elections, and we have a president who is fanning those flames," says Richard Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine. "COVID[-19] has put incredible stresses on the election system—and would have even in the best of times, but we are not in the best of times."

Voting by Mail Is Nothing New

The pandemic hasn't really caused mail-in voting to pop up out of nowhere so much as it has accelerated a trend that was already occurring. In much the same way that the pandemic has sped up the already ongoing shift towards more working from home, it is likely to nudge states to encourage more people to vote from home, too.

But voting by mail is "not a newfangled idea," says Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "It was already deeply embedded in the American electoral system before the coronavirus hit."

In fact, the practice dates back to at least the Civil War, when soldiers on both sides of the conflict were allowed to vote in their home states, by mail, from wherever they happened to be camped at the time. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Election Data and Science Lab, the first absentee voting laws for civilians were passed in the 1880s to accommodate voters who were incapacitated or away from home on Election Day. It wasn't until the 1980s that states began to pass laws allowing residents to vote by mail without giving an excuse. Think of that approach as a de facto vote-by-mail-if-you-want-to system—a way of simply giving voters a choice about how to cast their ballots.

A lot of voters took that option even before the pandemic came along. In the 27 states and Washington, D.C., that had such laws on the books in 2018, more than a quarter of voters chose to vote by mail, compared to just 9 percent in the states where getting an absentee ballot requires explaining to the government why you need one, according to MIT's data.

In a smaller set of states, the government simply mails a ballot to all residents prior to the election, no request necessary. Oregon pioneered that system, thanks to a ballot measure passed in 1998. Since then, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, and Washington state have also moved to mail-based elections—that is, all voters receive a ballot in the mail, though they are free to vote in-person if they choose to do so instead. In California, state law allows county election offices to send ballots directly to all voters and have them returned via mail, but not all counties have made the switch. Several other places, including Arizona, Minnesota, and D.C., have policies that allow voters to request absentee ballots for all future elections, effectively letting individual voters opt into a permanent mail-in voting status.

In all, about 250 million votes have been cast by mail since 2000 according to the Vote At Home Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for expanding access to mail-in balloting. Along with the rise of in-person early voting, mail-in voting has contributed to a marked decline in the number of votes cast the traditional way: behind a curtain in your local elementary school on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

"If the actions of public officials are any guide, the truth is that by-mail voting has broad bipartisan support at the state level," writes Edward Perez, global director of technology development for the Open Source Election Technology Institute, a California-based nonprofit that advocates for the use of tech to make America's elections more secure. "The practice is well-established, increasingly popular, reliable, and neutral in its partisan effects."

Still, the few states that did try to hold primary elections after mid-March provided a preview of what could happen in November if most Americans have to go to the polls. In Wisconsin, the Republican-controlled state legislature blocked an attempt by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to postpone the state's April 7 primary. More than 50 people who voted in person or worked the polls later tested positive for COVID-19. Georgia's June 9 primary election broke turnout records despite the pandemic, but poll workers calling in sick and polling places that had to be relocated at the last minute to accommodate social distancing requirements were blamed for long lines and confusion among voters.

A swift move toward more mail-in voting could alleviate some of those risks. Unfortunately, states aren't only facing practical, logistical, and public health challenges as they prepare for the election; they're up against a big political hurdle, too. And time is running out. 

Trump vs. Mail-in Ballots

"I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," Trump said in early April during one of the White House's short-lived daily coronavirus briefings. He'd been asked about whether he thought Wisconsin should go ahead with its primary election and whether Americans should be prepared to vote by mail in November.

The president was adamant. "It shouldn't be mail-in voting. It should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself. You don't send it in the mail where people pick up—all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they sign that, if they sign that, by the time it gets in and is tabulated. No. It shouldn't be mailed in."

In the days and weeks that followed, Trump launched a full assault on the idea that Americans might embrace alternatives to queuing up at the polls on Election Day. More mail-in voting would produce fraud, he wrote in one particularly hyperbolic tweet on May 27, adding that "mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed."

It also might result in "levels of voting" that were disadvantageous to Republicans, he said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. 

Since then, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have launched a legal effort aimed at stopping mail-in balloting in states that are trying to expand it. In August, just days after raising the possibility of delaying the election in order to prevent what he argued would be "fraudulent" results, Trump even floated the possibility of an executive order aimed at curbing mail-in voting, though he has so far provided few specifics. 

If mail-in voting is a Democratic plot to undermine Republicans' chances at winning in 2020, that would come as news to many Republicans. When Colorado, for example, switched to providing ballots by mail in 2013, the process was overseen by Secretary of State Wayne Williams—a Republican.  

A Reuters/Ipsos poll in April found that 79 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republican voters favored expanding mail-in voting for the general election. But Trump's campaign against the alternative to in-person voting may have already had an impact. A July survey from the Pew Research Center found that 65 percent of Americans believed voters should be allowed to vote by mail without giving an excuse, but Democrats (83 percent) were far more likely than Republicans (44 percent) to say so.

It's true that studies have found an increase in turnout in states that have shifted to vote-by-mail policies, but absentee balloting doesn't seem to favor either party. A Stanford University study released earlier this year that looked at absentee balloting since 1996 in California, Utah, and Washington concluded that "claims that vote by mail fundamentally advantages one party over the other appear overblown." And a Brennan Center analysis of voting patterns in seven swing states that offered no-excuse absentee balloting in 2016 found that the people most likely to vote by mail were white voters over the age of 65—a key Trump demographic.

The idea that Republicans are disadvantaged by higher turnout is "nonsense," says Tom Ridge, the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania and former Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush. Ridge, who now serves as chairman of the National Organization on Disability, says there is no reason for states to force voters to choose between "your health or your vote" and stresses that political parties should feel an obligation to support policies that make it easier for Americans to participate in the electoral process, regardless of whether there is a pandemic.

When it comes to the gamesmanship of politics, Ridge wonders if Trump's repeated questioning of the legitimacy of mail-in voting could even end up hurting Republicans in the fall. If COVID-19 is raging in November, older voters that haven't requested an absentee ballot (or who weren't allowed to get one) might just stay home.

"Absentee voting gives neither party a political advantage, but the political party or the candidate that has a concerted, focused effort on encouraging absentee voting does have an advantage," he says. "It seems counterintuitive and counterproductive for the president to be opposed to it when, frankly, Republicans are going to have to use it."

Indeed, in a close election the marginal cost of Trump's denouncements of voting by mail could haunt Republicans. As of mid-June, registered Democrats in Florida had requested roughly 300,000 more absentee ballots than registered Republicans—a gap that the state's Democratic Party chairman attributed, in comments to Politico, to Trump's success at tamping down Republican enthusiasm for voting by mail.

In North Carolina, the number of absentee ballot requests received by the state's election board through July 27 was running nearly five times ahead of 2016's pace, according to data collected by Old North State Politics, a North Carolina political blog. But while Republicans and Democrats were equally likely to request absentee ballots in 2016, 54 percent of requests this year have come from Democrats versus just 11 percent from Republicans (the rest came from registered independents).

The president's hostility towards voting by mail—and what seems to be hardening partisan views about the process—is built atop a long-running conservative campaign against the perceived threat of voter fraud. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, maintains a Voter Fraud database containing more than 1,200 cases of voter fraud over the past four years. The list includes "impersonation fraud at the polls; false voter registrations; duplicate voting; fraudulent absentee ballots; vote buying; illegal assistance and intimidation of voters; ineligible voting, such as by aliens; altering vote counts; and ballot petition fraud."

Clearly, then, in-person voting is no guarantee that fraud will not take place. Still, conservatives like Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and head of the think tank's election fraud initiative, worry that an increase in mail-in balloting will create more opportunities for fraud. "Mail-in ballots are completed and voted outside the supervision and control of election officials and outside the purview of election observers, destroying the transparency that is a vital hallmark of the democratic process," he wrote in a report released on July 16 which warned that "encouraging even more mail-in voting and relaxing security protocols, such as witness or notarization requirements, is a dangerous policy."

Widespread voter fraud would undermine the legitimacy of elections, and therefore must be taken seriously. But the evidence shows that voter fraud rates are "infinitesimally small," says Weiser, and that's true for mail-in balloting too. One analysis of absentee balloting from 2000 through 2012 found 491 cases of fraud—about 0.0000001 percent of all votes cast that way.

The main reason why voter fraud is so rare is that individual votes are worth very little, but the punishments for getting caught voting fraudulently are serious. That's true for both in-person voter fraud and the mail-in variety. In Oregon, for example, mailing a fraudulent ballot can land you in prison for five years.

On top of the deterrent value of harsh penalties, the states that have adopted mail-in balloting use a variety of methods to prevent and detect fraud—and to provide voters with the assurance that their ballots are counted.

Those strategies mostly fall into three categories: technology, tracing, and transparency.

In Colorado and Oregon, unique bar codes attached to each ballot mailed ensures that voters aren't duplicating their ballots and returning more than one. Additionally, all absentee ballots must be signed by the voter, and those signatures are compared to voter rolls—or, in some states, lists maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles—by signature-matching software.

Tracing takes place after the election is over, and experts say it's one of the ways mail-in balloting can be more secure than the electronic voting machines used in some states. Voting by mail leaves a literal paper trail for post-election audits to follow. In 2018, for example, a canvass of absentee ballots in North Carolina caught one of the few recorded incidents of large-scale voter fraud in recent history—orchestrated by a Republican political operative—and the election was re-run.

By comparison, the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election found that 13 states use voting machines that don't provide paper records for post-election checking. There's no indication that foreign governments hacked the vote in 2016, but the lack of a paper trail means it can be harder for election officials to detect more mundane problems too. Mail-in voting solves that.

Finally, the whole process is transparent. Don't trust the post office to deliver your ballot to the county election office? Even states that have converted to full vote-by-mail elections give voters the option of dropping off their ballots in the weeks leading up to an election. A Harvard University study of the 2016 election found that 73 percent of voters in Colorado and 59 percent in Oregon returned their ballots via those drop boxes at local election offices.

"Trump's claims are wrong," says Weiser. "Mail ballot fraud is incredibly rare, and legitimate security concerns can easily be addressed."

Indeed, Trump's worries about mail-in voting seem somewhat hypocritical: Less than two weeks before his tirade against mail-in voting in April, Trump had voted with an absentee ballot in the Florida primary. His campaign's official Twitter account blasted out a message in mid-May encouraging Wisconsin voters to apply for absentee ballots so they could vote in a special congressional election.

Get Ready for Chaos Anyway

The bigger problem facing states as they prepare for the 2020 general election is not the president's tweeting or the spectral fears of voter fraud. It's that there is no time to build out the infrastructure necessary for a full-scale vote-by-mail operation like the ones in Colorado, Oregon and elsewhere.

So far, Congress has authorized $400 million in new spending to help states get prepared for what's likely to be the weirdest election in recent history, but the Brennan Center says it will take $4 billion in additional election spending to cover the cost of ballot printing, postage, security measures like drop boxes and bar codes, and hiring additional staff to count votes. Hasen estimates that, despite spending more than $3 trillion on coronavirus aid, Congress has provided to states only about 20 percent of what would be necessary to run an election in the middle of a pandemic—meaning not only expanded absentee balloting, but also funding for things like protective equipment for poll workers.

But money can't buy time, which is what states really need right now. "We've been at it for a decade. It's not an easy lift to make that transition," Julie Wise, the director of elections for King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, told Cascade Public Media in April.

The Vote At Home Institute provides state officials with an 18-step process for making the transition—it involves not only designing, printing, and mailing ballots, but informing voters of the changes as well as creating the necessary infrastructure to receive and count all those votes in a timely manner. And, of course, implementing measures to detect and prevent fraud.

States that have taken action in the interim have mostly moved to do away with restrictions on who can get absentee ballots. In New Hampshire, for instance, all voters will be allowed to request absentee ballots and list "COVID-19" as a valid excuse for not showing up at the polls.

 A few others, like Illinois and Massachusetts, have decided to automatically send absentee ballots to all eligible voters at their last registered address. Wisconsin will send absentee ballot request forms to all voters, and make absentee ballots available to anyone who fills out and returns the paperwork.

Expanding no-excuse absentee balloting is probably the best that many states will be able to do before November, but even that relies on overcoming political opposition. "Fear of contracting COVID-19 does not amount to a sickness or physical condition as required by state law," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement last month announcing that the state would not expand access to mail-in voting. His office promised to prosecute individuals who use absentee ballots in an "improper manner."

Even in the vast majority of states that have moved to ease restrictions on absentee balloting in light of the pandemic, a full-scale vote-by-mail system is virtually impossible to implement before November. Weiser advises that "accessible in-person voting sites" should be maintained even as counties and states try to encourage more voting from home. That's "for those who cannot or will not vote by mail and as a fail-safe to the inevitable problems that may arise."

Depending on the status of the pandemic in early November, that might be what most voters choose to do. Even though polls consistently show support for expanding mail-in voting, a July poll by ABC News and The Washington Post found that 59 percent of Americans would prefer to vote in person.

Problems will almost certainly arise, as they have in the past. The 2000 presidential election dragged on for weeks after Election Day as a Florida recount became fixated on questions about "hanging chads" and other unusual ballots; ultimately the outcome was decided by the state Supreme Court. Smaller ballot-counting glitches plagued this election season, even before COVID-19.

On February 3, the Iowa caucuses descended into pandemonium when a glitchy computer program made it impossible for the state Democratic Party to get accurate results from caucus sites. It took three days for the final results to be reported. That's three days to count votes in one small state's primary election—an election that everyone knew wasn't going to settle anything. Two different candidates gave victory speeches—or speeches that seemed a lot like victory speeches, at least—and cable news was aflutter with speculation about what it all meant.

Now imagine if the outcome of the presidential election—or control of Congress—had been hanging in the balance. "Florida in 2000 might look like a picnic compared to this," says Hasen.

As it happened, Hasen's book Election Meltdown was released on the same day as this year's Iowa caucuses. "It was good product placement," he jokes. Timely as it might have been, that night was also a wake-up call for election officials and academics. Three weeks after the meltdown in Iowa, Hasen hosted a hastily organized conference at University of California, Irvine, with the goal of making suggestions for how states could better secure the legitimacy of the 2020 general election. In mid-April, the group released a report with 14 suggestions ranging from expanding mail-in and early voting options to informing the public about the potential delays in reporting results.

The goal of expanded voting-by-mail is not to abolish voting booths and the traditional democratic process it represents. It's to give voters more options, allow more people to participate, and—particularly this year—to cut down on long lines and crowded polling places. Every ballot cast through the mail is one fewer person who will have to stand in line on Election Day.

The trade-off is that absentee ballots typically take days, sometimes weeks, to be counted. Georgia, New York, and other big states that relied heavily on voting-by-mail for primary elections during the late spring and early summer experienced long delays in reporting official results. It took New York more than a month to finish counting all its absentee ballots.

"The U.S. has never had to shift its system of election administration so massively and so swiftly," wrote Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at Stanford University and co-director of the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections project in a June op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

He cautions that patience will be necessary. The number of absentee ballots cast in several primary elections during the spring and early summer overwhelmed local election offices and led to delays in posting official tallies. That's likely to happen again in November. Tens of millions of ballots might remain uncounted on election night, and a "winner may not be known for days."

Compounding the logistical problems is simple voter ineptitude. In-person voting limits common mistakes—like voting for too many candidates or failing to sign a ballot—that are more likely to happen with absentee ballots. Research by Charles Stewart, a professor of political science and founder of the MIT Election Lab, an estimated 800,000 absentee ballots were rejected in 2008 by local election authorities, mostly due to mismatched signatures or because they arrived too late. Counting absentee ballots requires reviewing them one-by-one, and even though computers help, much of the work is still done by hand (and that's especially true in states without a true vote-by-mail infrastructure in place). 

In 12 states—including the key presidential swing states of Pennsylvania and Michigan—officials are forbidden by state law from counting absentee ballots until Election Day, even if they arrive days or weeks in advance. That means those states won't be able to get a head start on what's sure to be a dayslong or weekslong process. 

Mail-in balloting will make Election Day effectively last days or even weeks after voting as concluded, but it will also stretch it forward in time too. In late July, a viral meme circulating on social media advised mailing ballots back to election offices no later than October 20. It's probably not necessary to put your vote in the mail quite that early, election officials say, but allowing enough time for delivery is important.

What it all means is that, in every regard, the mechanisms of this year's election are going to take more time than usual.

Election Night(s) in America

Elections accomplish many different things. They are the only poll in politics that really matters, the one that signals what the public wants or what it wishes to stop. They confer legitimacy on the government's power to tax, regulate, and police us. They make careers and end them—not just for politicians, but for everyone who helps get them elected or defeated.

But they can only accomplish those tasks if they are viewed as being more or less legitimate exercises conducted with impartial rules and producing accurate results. Every American election is a bit of a mishmash due to overlapping local, state, and federal districts and varying rules across 50 states and more than 100,000 precincts. But regardless of how exactly it works where you live, the important thing is that it does.  

This year, that patchwork of policies will be even more complex. The 2020 election has huge stakes, but it will also be a giant, and potentially messy, experiment. An increase in mail-in voting should not undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 general election. An estimated 33 million Americans voted by mail in 2016, and even if that total doubles or triples this year, it should not change how the results are viewed. But, legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder.

Patience is not a guiding principle in American politics. This year, it might have to be.

"We all need to be prepared to expect and explain a long vote count in the days and perhaps weeks following Election Day," says Kyle Kondik, managing editor at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. Election Day could end up being "a mess," he says, if polling places have to be closed at the last minute due to outbreaks and if it isn't feasible for states to expand early voting or vote-by-mail options.

"I fear it's going to be difficult," he adds, "and that conspiracy-mongering will fill the void of an uncalled election."

Hasen worries that some results might change in the days or weeks after Election Day as absentee ballots are processed and counted. That happened in 2018, when two congressional districts in southern California were ultimately won by Democrats despite the fact that Republicans had initially appeared to prevail. "There was nothing nefarious going on," says Hasen, there were simply more Democrats who voted by absentee ballot, as allowed under California law. But, he adds, "I think we can certainly expect to see a similar pattern that is now exacerbated by the president discouraging his supporters from voting by mail."

And if there are major results—especially in the presidential race—how will Trump respond if a flood of absentee votes tip the election days later? His recent tweets suggests he's prepared to use the delays created by mail-in voting to raise questions about the legitimacy of the election's outcome. "Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!" the president tweeted on July 30. That's a standard that would be nearly impossible to meet during normal times—even in years without Bush-Gore levels of controversy, close elections can remain uncalled for days. Federal law allows 35 days for election officials to certify results.

What should election officials do? Look at those same congressional races in California in 2018. Orange County was transparent about how many absentee ballots had been received and about how long it would take to tally them. Everyone involved knew the race wasn't going to be settled by the end of the night, and that helped prevent the appearance of a major scandal.

"Transparency is important. Competence is obviously important," says Hasen. "And that stuff needs to happen now. You can't do it on the fly. The rules and procedures have to be announced now, so it doesn't look like you're changing things at the last minute to help one candidate or another." 

The current level of political polarization does not inspire confidence in America's ability to navigate a high stakes election under the best of circumstances. Barring some unexpected medical breakthrough, it seems like the 2020 general election will be conducted in far from the best of circumstances.

On August 4, the president added another twist to his weeks long campaign of griping about potential fraud and unnecessary delays associated with mail-in ballots. "Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True," Trump tweeted. "Florida's Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!" At the same time, the Trump administration sued the state of Nevada over plans to mail ballots to every voter, following an accusation that the state's governor had "made it impossible for Republicans to win the state."

It is obviously not the role of the president to pick and choose which methods states can use to run elections—but it appears that Trump may have realized that his attempt to delegitimize mail-in balloting was backfiring.

Regardless of what Trump may say between now and Election Day, voting by mail should not be subject to a partisan campaign of scare tactics designed to undermine the legitimacy of the election. The practice is already widespread, safe, and accurate.

Allowing more people to vote by mail if they choose is a good way to alleviate the public health risks presented by having an election in the middle of a pandemic. It is not, however, a guarantee of a controversy-free election. Indeed, nothing is. That's why voters, candidates, and political junkies should be prepared for an election night that spills over into the next day, or even the following weeks.

But that's all right—there won't be any parties anyway.

NEXT: Tulane Canceled a Talk by the Author of an Acclaimed Anti-Racism Book After Students Said the Event Was 'Violent'

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201 responses to “America Is Going To Vote by Mail. We're Not Ready.

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  2. This isn’t an accident Boehm. This is the strategy. The political class knows full well that this will create unrest, uncertainty and distrust; all of which they will use to turn us against each other instead of at them where it is deserved. When there’s populism on all sides, you need to divide and conquer.

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    1. ” this will create unrest, uncertainty and distrust; all of which they will use to turn us against each other instead of at them where it is deserved. ”

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  3. Eric seems to be headed to be the Shikha of ballots; falsely conflating absentee voting with mass mail outs of requested ballots, usually minus safety guards, in the same manner she conflates legal and illegal immigration.

    1. And of course, the left wing squirrels got me

      mail out of UNrequested ballots – – – – –

      1. Came here to say this. Absentee ballots are requested by registered voters, actual people who exist. Universal ballots mailed to people who did not specifically request them will go to dead people, people who have moved and no longer eligible to vote, and to the mistakes in the data base. This is so obvious that even Boehm should be able to figure it out.

        Additionally, you have foreign entities who want to fuck up the US vote. The Russians spent $100K in 2016 for that purpose. How many universal ballots will that $100K purchase? Probably about 170,000 when you include postage. How many swing states will 170,000 fraudulent ballots impact? Maybe Russia will decide to spend $1M. What sort of chaos will 1.7M fraudulent ballots cause?

        As Boehm points out (and as Trump has pointed out) the US is not ready to handle an all-mail vote, and we can’t get ready in three months.

        1. Nonsense. I have not voted in person for decades. CA and WA are civilized states for elections. You have about ten days, and your ballot is electronically identified so you can’t vote twice. All those ballots printed by the Russians would have to have the correct names and numbers and then signatures. Not likely. But keep pretending it’s all about secure voting. Chain of custody? ROFL. You prefer voting machines??? Absentee ballots don’t have chain of custody, other than USPS, and maybe not even that, if voters are overseas.
          The reason for this loud nonsense is clear from the President’s own admissions. If the people can vote simply and easily, Trump will be gone. If voter suppression by Republicans continues, especially in a pandemic, people will die and many people will note able to vote.

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      2. He actually talks about full on vote by mail. They have it in many states, without massive fraud.

    2. No chain of custody. What happens to evidence when there is no chain of custody? It gets thrown out, that’s what happens.

    3. Exactly. Absentees are actually more secure than traditional voting and they have more potential layers of security that can be added. Mailing a ballot automatically to every entry on the voter rolls is asking for it. We’ve already seen proven fraud on a local level. Sometimes it’s bad actors who send in single absentee ballots, other times there are corrupt election officials who make a real dent in a district’s outcome. People think there needs to be an order of magnitude where tens of thousands of fraudulent votes are cast in order for there to be voter fraud worth concerning ourselves with…I always remind these people of the Florida recounts during Bush/Gore.

    4. Bohem wrote a long article about mail in balloting, without mentioning a single case in court where people were convicted of voter fraud via mail in ballots. Further, he fails to explain how mail in elections could be compromised, or how “vote harvesting” works. I’ll tell you: partisan operatives get a list of voters, and somehow know who’s voted, and their addresses, then start knocking on doors asking you to vote, if you’re of the right party and haven’t. AFAIK, a bunch of them might just be taking ballots out of mail boxes, or printing them up, filling them out and sending them in. Or perhaps partisan election officials print up a bunch of ballots which they keep ready to fill out and send in, depending on how the vote is going.

      Trump put together a commission on voting practices to ensure the integrity of elections, but the Democrats refused to participate
      taking the stand that it’s the State’s responsibility to run elections (I agree), but that’s no reason to keep their election procedures secret from the federal government or the people. They claim they keep their procedures secret to protect the process, but I don’t believe them. A solid process that protects the vote shouldn’t be secret.

      I’ve not seen/read anything on signature verification equipment for mail in ballots (except here), nor am I aware that if I send in my ballot and my signature is “off”, my ballot is wrongly rejected (shouldn’t I know this since my state allegedly does this, and shouldn’t it say that on the ballot?)??? What percentage of ballots were rejected for an incorrect signature, and were followed up to find voter fraud or an incorrect rejection (I’ll bet none).

      Boehm could do a lot better here. It seems he’s convinced mail in is better, but he didn’t convince me. He needs to provide real examples of mail in ballot fraud (and not conflate absentee and mail in), and explain how it is prevented. With no one watching partisan election officials, fraud is happening.

  4. Trump DID NOT threaten to delay the elections. You can certainly read it that way if you want, but the question marks, his style, the short message limit, all make it much more likely it was a typical Trump question that he probably forgot about 5 seconds later.

    1. ^This.

      I’m no Trump fan, but I don’t think that the linked tweet can be fairly read as some kind of threat by Trump to take unilateral executive action to delay the election.

      My personal opinion: Trump says a lot of shit he has no intention to act on just to watch his political opponents go ape shit over it.

      I don’t think the delay the election question even falls into that category.

      If it’s fair game to consider universal mail in balloting on an emergency basis because COVID, then it ought to be equally fair game to talk about delaying the election.

      1. “If it’s fair game to consider universal mail in balloting on an emergency basis because COVID, then it ought to be equally fair game to talk about delaying the election.”

        You can talk about it all you want. But the Constitution clearly states when the election happens and when the President’s term ends.

        1. The Constitution “clearly states” a lot of things that we no longer follow, so what’s your point? I recall reading things in the Constitution about Freedom of Association and the Right To Bear Arms (not Right To Beg Government To Allow Me To Bear Arms That They Approve Of). The Constitution only means what our Overlords, and the Jurors that those Overlords personally selected, says it means.

          1. Snark? Or has the right and left truly melded into one?

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          2. You didn’t read anything about the freedom of association in the constitution.

          3. To progressives like Eric, the constitution is an obstacle to their tyranny. To be used as a convenience when it suits them. Ultimately to be tossed aside when they have enough power.

        2. See also, Title 3 of the US code.

          However, most of this year has been about the COVID emergency trumping laws and the Constitution. Considering that scope, I could see why a politician thinks they have a right to do something against the law or Constitution in the name of COVID. It’s just what they do in 2020. The citizenry has mostly been cool with it. Protesting the fact governments were ignoring laws and the Constitution was considered evil and wrong during this emergency.

        3. “But the Constitution clearly states when the election happens and when the President’s term ends.”
          You clearly haven’t read the Constitution. It ldoes NOT specify when the election happens. That determination is assigned to the Congress.
          Also, you should never start a sentence with the word but.

          1. ldoes this pedant proof read his comments?

  5. If any swing state is starting mail in ballots this year expect lawsuits. This will rival 2000 in delays.

    Also any state that does mail in ballots should have extremely harsh penalties for ballot fraud. Also any questionable ballots get rejected permanently.

    Finally if you’re concerned, your state probably does early voting at various locations. Also your mail in ballot can be dropped off at your county office lockbox. But there is zero reason not to have election locations open as the threat of covid is far far less than the threat the democrats will subvert the election results.

    1. “Voter suppression” will be alleged if questionable ballots get tossed.

      1. “Voter suppression” will be alleged regardless.
        It’s habitual

        1. Yes, but this time the Dems will have to argue why all the voter suppression against Reps and libertarians is justified and all the voter suppression they always scream about (without evidence) is awful for the Dems.

    2. This election will be far worse than 2002. The FL supreme court went full on partisan and when SCOTUS slapped them down they were also accused of being partisan but in the end something kinda sorta like the rule of law prevailed. Gore bailed and Bush got his honeymoon but to this day the democrats insist he “stole” the election. The Democrats have tried every conceivable scam to take out Trump. Faithless electors, the emoluments clause, the 25th amendment, articles of impeachment for tweeting mean stuff, impeachment for some guy’s 3rd hand version of a phone call, even a full on IC bloodless coup attempt. They’ve demonstrated over and over again they they have no respect for a rule of law or the “democratic institutions” they keep blathering about. They will stop at nothing to take him out and this election will give them ample opportunities. Gonna be a total shitshow.

  6. Well, it’s not like my vote for Jo Jorgensen is going to be counted anyway, but seriously, I can see mail-in voting benefiting Trump since I heard on npr recently that many younger voters don’t even know where to buy stamps or how to mail a letter-I’m not kidding.

    1. In Colorado we can choose to mail it in, or drop it off at a local precinct drop box. Works like a charm.

      1. Millennials can’t even find a Red Box to rent movies, so they pay more for streaming.

        1. This is easily the most “boomer” comment I’ve seen in a while lol

      2. In Colorado we can choose to mail it in, or drop it off at a local precinct drop box. Works like a charm.

        Sounds like it works like voting.

        Go to your local polling place, drop your ballot in the ballot box.

        That’s called ‘in-person’ voting, dude.

        1. Perhaps you misread.

          “we can choose to mail it in, or drop it off”

          California is the same way in most counties. Works fine.

          1. Exactly. And dropping it off generally means driving up to a drop box to drop your already completed ballot…not waiting in line.

  7. It is clear that Trump is specifically against the mass-mailing of ballots but is way too retarded to clearly articulate that instead of bitching about “voting by mail” in general

    1. He and surrogates have articulated it many, many times

      1. But they have yet to explain the meaningful difference other than “what benefits Republicans is good.”

        1. I suppose in your mind, the reason that the D’s want all voting in every city, county and state to be by mail regardless of statistical risk of spreading a virus is in no way a political calculation that benefits them. You’re adorable.

          1. I don’t get why you don’t get this. Obviously it’s a political calculation. It also happens to be the ethical and just thing to do. That’s the whole goddamn reason Democrats are better than Republicans. I thought you sheeple were against postmodern moral relativism.

            1. And you are the reason that the legend of the “better educated Democrat/Liberal” is pure bullshit.

  8. Trump statement was meant to get attention and not to articulate facts. The fact is the mass mailing is to registered voters. These mailing are not like the weekly shopper. Almost all the ballots will go to people expected to get them. What about the remaining. Well most people are honest and if they get a ballot not intended for them, they will discard it. It is unlikely with the remaining you could put together enough votes to make it worth taking the chance of getting caught.

    1. government agencies being noted for keeping their records up to date….

      1. I get DMV mailings for the last 3 people that lived at my address, and Social Security mailings for 2 of them

        1. You *monster*!

        2. That interesting, but none of these are ballots. Also you would be a little shy. In 2016 the closest state was MI and Trump won by 13080 votes. So you would need another 13077 ballots to be effective. That a steep hill to climb.

          1. Nope. You just need 13,081 ballots to not get counted…
            How many votes per polling station do you think that translates too?
            It doesn’t have to be one, single effort at the state level…

            1. Could you explain this further. It appears that you are saying that your going to take the extra ballots and not get them counted and how does that elect someone?

              1. In 2016, Hillary didn’t need to get 13,081 additional votes if she could have caused Trump to get 13,081 fewer votes (i.e. if the original tallies were 1,013,080 for Trump and 1,000,000 for Clinton, Clinton could have won if she could knock Trump’s total to 999,999 rather than raising hers to 1,013,081). It’s the same effect, but rather than generating/forging ballots, all she had to do was prevent that many from being tallied in his favor, for instance, paying postal workers to sort through ballots and remove mail-in ballots for Trump. Of course, she couldn’t KNOW exactly how many ballots she would need to overcome, but eliminating your competition’s ballots is easier and safer than increasing your own.

                This is the superior election fraud method for a few reasons:
                1. You don’t have to worry about exceeding the number of registered voters in the district in order to win (thus getting caught or at least triggering an investigation).
                2. You don’t have to introduce ANY fraudulent materials that may not match with the voter registration rolls (thus triggering an investigation).
                3. You don’t have to worry about the logistics of physically introducing fraudulent materials (hauling boxes of phony ballots into the post office or ballot counting station).
                4. Voters in most (if not all) locations have no way of confirming if their vote was tallied and for whom (and they already received and sent in their ballot, so as far as they know, they’re good).
                5. There’s no argument about the validity of any of the ballots (above what already exists) because they’re ALL already valid (again, assuming no one else has already introduced forged ballots).
                6. Low voter turnout for the opposition is easily explained by a number of factors (low enthusiasm, bad weather, demographics, etc.)

                The hardest part is just intercepting the valid opposition’s ballots before someone who isn’t “in” on the job sees them.

                1. I really don’t see this happening. First an absentee ballot is sealed, so you really don’t know who they voted for on the ballot. As MI was pretty much divided equally you would have to open a huge number of ballots to find Trump ballots on the 26,000 assuming a 50-50 mix. Then you have to reseal 13,000. And this has to be done throughout the state without people finding out. Pretty big lift if you ask me.
                  The point I am trying to make here is that you could do a small amount of fraud, but swinging an election is impossible.

                  1. Moderation4ever
                    August.6.2020 at 9:47 pm
                    “I really don’t see this happening…”

                    I’m sure your mom finds that compelling.

                  2. There are many neighborhoods that lean 80% or more towards one party or the other. You don’t have to open the ballots to change election results, just select ones to “lose” according to the return address.

          2. Well we haven’t had a mass mail-in election yet, I’ll let you know what I receive when I receive it. I’ll bet you I’ll get a ballot from my old address too (I moved last year) they mailed me a card to request a primary ballot, which got forwarded to my new address

            Also, do you really think I’m the only person getting mail for past residents? Do you think 13,080 people have moved in the last 2 years since the last federal election? Actually, it would be the last 15 years, since that’s how long its been since some of those people have lived at this address

            1. This is why I see a big difference between the universal mail-in voting, and no-excuse absentee voting. With absentee you request your own ballot, this limits it to people who intend to vote and will therefore know if their ballot doesn’t arrive (voter turnout was 55% in 2016)

              It also gives you an opportunity to confirm your mailing address, so your ballot doesn’t go to the wrong house

              1. You can also do this with apps like MyVote which tracks your absentee ballot. So if you never got the ballot and one was turned in for you, you can call the clerks office.

            2. “Well we haven’t had a mass mail-in election yet, I’ll let you know what I receive when I receive it.”

              But we have. Several states do this, including Colorado and California.

              1. California, the cheating was rampant. The state intentionally registered millions who were ineligible to vote, then had partisans bundling ballots and dropping them off.

                Not a very good example unless you somehow believe that rampant cheating is a good thing.

                1. Any paper on this claim or is this like BigFoot and Nessie?

                  1. “…“Harvesting” votes can be also be effective — that’s where the campaign actually delivers absentee ballots for people — but you have to be careful. It’s legal in California but not in all states, and even in California, you can get in trouble.
                    Lee’s people got into hot water in his first election when they set up a booth at a Chinatown street fair and helped fill out and collect absentee ballots for elderly Chinese-speaking voters…”

                    Even you should see ‘helping people fill out their ballots’ as fraud.

    2. And what about the people who SHOULD have gotten those ballots that were discarded? What about the ballots that get “lost” going either direction? What about ballots that don’t get postmarked by USPS, even though they were picked up in time?
      What about the ballots that get thrown out because the signatures don’t match?

      Cheating doesn’t have to LOOK like cheating. The best way to cheat is one where there is plausible deniability…

      “Oh look, Smith. What’s this box in the sorting room?”
      “Oh, it must be a box of ballots from District _, which I think leans heavily __.”
      “Weird. Oh well, that candidate didn’t win anyway.”

      1. Gonna need election judges at the post office.

    3. What about those discarded ballots? What about the voters who SHOULD have recieved them, but didn’t, because now they are in the trash?

      What’s the threshold for how many voters can be potentially disenfranchized due to misdelivered and undelivered ballots? Is there a hard number for that? 100? 1000? 10,000? Even if it’s not fraud, is it better to potentially disenfranchize any citizen through incompetence or mismanagement? They’re still potentially disenfranchized, even if it wasn’t on purpose.

      1. Places that have mail in voting also have in person voting so you can go to the polls if you do not get a ballot. My kids requested absentee ballots late in March, they ended up having to go to the polls when their absentee did not arrive in time. By the way you can track this on a app.

        1. Except for the fact that they are talking about closing in-person voting.

          1. Where are they talking about closing in-person voting? Who is talking about closing in person voting, is this official or some speculation?

    4. I see your point.
      I also see the counterpoints: endless stories about people getting wrong ballots and not getting theirs, the fiasco in New Jersey that had the NAACP calling for a re-election, postal workers being arrested.

      It’s not even just the 1-in-a-million complaint that gets amplified. Tim Pool, the Youtube news commentator, never got his ballot. But he got the ballot of some random person.

      It’s said that the plural of anecdote is not data, but there are a huge number of problems, and the count is terrifying.

  9. I’m guessing by the length of this article that it was shopped to The Atlantic first, and rejected.

    1. sprained a finger scrolling down.

      1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t bother reading it past the author’s name.

  10. “But money can’t buy time, which is what states really need right now.”

    So the “threat”/question about delaying the election is actually a good idea?

  11. “But the evidence shows that voter fraud rates are “infinitesimally small,” says Weiser, and that’s true for mail-in balloting too.”

    So infinitesimally small they had to repeat the 9th congressional district election here in NC because of ballot harvesting of mail in votes.

    1. Something they don’t look look for they rarely find, who knew

      1. Evidence shows no jaywalkers exist because I never see them in arrest records.

    2. You might note that was a Republican operation. Definitely tells us which team we need to keep an eye on.

      1. The sad thing is other idiots believe like you do.

        1. Do you not think there is any reason to be skeptical of Republicans?

          1. Republicans are too stupid to pull off massive electoral fraud, while the DNC has built it into the bones of the system since Tammany Hall, through to the Chicago Machine and Solid South.

            1. Republicans aren’t too stupid to gerrymander districts to the quantum scale.

              1. Gerrymandering is slimy as hell, but it’s not electoral fraud. It’s also obvious and pisses voters off; which is why the stupid party does it, while the evil party quietly frauds the vote instead.

      2. It would be evidence that you need to keep an eye on the whole thing. Tunnel vision on one group will allow the other group to get away with it.

      3. And YET, the Republicans reliably call for oversight on the whole operation…it’s almost as if the republican voters and MOST Republican elected officials are operating in good-faith when they call for better voter security, even though in THIS case, it would have benefited the other side…weird.

      4. OK, so… why does that then somehow translate into “therefore, a completely remote election will be fine”?

  12. >>It was probably the last approximately “normal” election night America will have this year.

    yeah Biden’s nomination wasn’t rigged.

    1. What would still be fun is if he died or became obviously permanently incapacitated before the DNC officially nominated him…or has that happened already? With no in-person national convention (Right?), who knows what would happen, and how?

  13. And so far the US does a bang up job on vote by mail with regards to the military.

    1. That’s from *2013*. Our technology is *much* better nHAHAHAHAHAAA! Damn, couldn’t quite get it out!

  14. It is impossible to have a legitimate presidential election by mail. Absurd really. This is another conspiracy between the deep state, the democrats and their media overlords.

    1. Arizona has been doing ballots by mail for years. Until recently most offices with their hands in the process has been firmly controlled by GOP.

  15. The shit show in November will be epic.

    1. s/in November/for the next 4 years/

  16. “”Well most people are honest and if they get a ballot not intended for them, they will discard it.””

    Are hypocrites considered honest people? I would not bet on the honesty of the America public in today’s climate. Too many people think dishonest or illegal behavior is ok as long as they have convinced themselves they have the moral high ground.

    However, they do check the signatures on mail-in ballots and if the sig does not match then it is considered invalid and not counted. This is the same way we verified people when I was a poll worker with the old school lever machines. The big difference is if a poll worker challenged you because your signature did not match the book, you could go downtown and see a judge. If you could convince the judge you are really you then the judge would give you a court order which you brought back to the poll worker and you would be allowed in the booth. When your vote was denied, you had a path for due process of sorts. Do you get that if your mail-in vote is denied for signature mismatch?

    1. That should be under Mod’s 11:44 post.

    2. For the record I think most people are honest. Yes, they might speed or rolling through a stop sign, but if you drop money they would tell you. I also think that if they got an extra ballot they would report it or discard it.

      1. It doesn’t matter if most people are honest. What matters is that mass mail-in voting is extremely vulnerable to mistakes and mismanagement, most states don’t have the capacity to switch to mass mail in voting, and the states that have been successful are successful because they have been doing it for years and have the infrastructure already in place.

        Mass mail in voting without a well-developed and tested plan is a bad idea. Please note the figure of 800,000 ballots being disqualified in 2008. That’s nearly a million people whose vote was thrown out, and not due to fraud. Stop trying to make it about fraud.

      2. How many are most? 70%? 90%?
        Either way, you are looking at tens of millions of dishonest people.

        Plus, many people can justify that they aren’t depriving that person of anything else. Drop a wallet full of cash and almost everyone will let you know, even if it requires tracking you down. Drop a quarter and almost everyone will pocket it.

        1. It is more that just the number of dishonest people alone. As I pointed out in the case of MI in 2016 the candidates were separated by 13,000 votes. If you assume a 10% dishonesty rate the you need to have 130,000 votes go to the wrong address. As MI was equally divided there is a equal chance that a misaddressed ballot would go to your opponents supporter as to you. That means you need 260,000 ballots to go the wrong address to harvest the 13,000 you need to change the election. The TV reported can report two or three miss sent ballots but you will need more than that to change an election.

    3. Even better, you don’t even KNOW if your vote was denied!

      1. This is also true of the ‘automated’ voting machines.
        With or without a piece of paper printed at the end, you do not know what the machine actually recorded.

        1. I don’t disagree, however, there is a chance that if the machine has an error, it will indicate as such. A mail in ballot could fail to be counted for any number of reasons (more reasons than an automated machine) and you wouldn’t receive indication for (likely) any of those reasons. Long and short: you’re less likely to know if your vote was counted or not for mail-in than in-person.

        2. It is to be sure, an act of faith.

        3. The US needs to go analog. Paper ballots with your finger dipped in electoral stain, and I’m not even kidding.

        4. I seem to recall you got a receipt with the running “public counter” tally, so if it failed to increment you could check that against the previous voter.

  17. If you want to have a lot of fun, look through the archives for stories about Trump and the GOP pushing for voter ID–you’ll note that THEN, voter ID was stupid because ‘there’s no vote fraud….okay, well most vote fraud is committed by mail’.

    In fact, EVERYONE telling us how safe mail in balloting is right now was saying the exact opposite while they were trying to brand all of the right as racist for wanting the people voting to identify themselves to show that they COULD vote legally.

    The easier it is to cheat with a balloting method, the better the left likes it.

  18. This is by design. It’s insurance in case they lose Boehm. It’s such a transparent bear trap.

    1. I don’t think Boehm is worth that much to them.

  19. Big enough garbage cans are the least of the problems:

    “Willie Brown: Why Democrats own the GOP in mail voting”
    “…“Harvesting” votes can be also be effective — that’s where the campaign actually delivers absentee ballots for people — but you have to be careful. It’s legal in California but not in all states, and even in California, you can get in trouble.
    Lee’s people got into hot water in his first election when they set up a booth at a Chinatown street fair and helped fill out and collect absentee ballots for elderly Chinese-speaking voters…”

    ‘Here, let me help you. See, you just vote right down this line; I’ll do it for you.
    Sorry to hear about your wife; can we fill one out for how she probably would have voted?’

    1. In which Sevo continues to hope that fellow commenters are dumb enough to think Willie Brown confessed to a felony in a major newspaper op-ed.

      What you’re really upset about is Democrats having the audacity to get out the vote and try to win. You don’t care about election shenanigans or you’d never vote Republican again.

      1. Democrats having the audacity to get out the vote
        Yes. Canvassing cemeteries is important and the Rethuglicans are just jealous.

      2. Tony
        August.6.2020 at 1:51 pm
        “In which Sevo continues…”

        In which Tony is too fucking stupid to read:
        “…helped fill out and collect absentee ballots for elderly Chinese-speaking voters…”
        Yep, ‘helping’ someone fill out a ballot isn’t fraud, at least if it’s a D ‘helping’.

    2. The prospect of large-scale ballot harvesting by party functionaries, or even just “motivated” partisans without official party sanction, is real. Senior centers or community centers will line people up and walk them through the ballot. That will be rare, but it will happen.

      More common will be family members filling out another family member’s ballot for them (“here, grandpa, just sign here and I’ll take care of the rest…“) or sitting around watching each other fill it out to enforce conformity. Yes, family members should be able to talk about politics if they like; but the secret ballot means that you don’t have to explain your vote to your spouse, grandchild, or parent, and can make a secret and sincere vote away from prying eyes. Yes, that dynamic is also present with voluntary absentee voting, but will increase with universal delivery to registered voters, because a whole household or family or senior center will get them all at once so organizing / suggesting a “voting party” will be easier, and there is no secret alternative. Not totally new, just totally upscaled opportunity for some combination of actual fraud, and more importantly for non-fraudulent influence that kills the secret ballot concept.

  20. The fundamental problem with mail-in voting in particular, and early voting in general, is that they diminish the legitimacy of the election.

    The issue is that voters will not be voting on the same set of facts. Some states will be accepting ballots before the first debate, some until a week or more after Election Day. A week is a long time in politics, two months is an eternity.

    1. Really! In this day an age people minds are really made up weeks, month, and years earlier. If either Joe Biden or Donald Trump dropped dead from a heart attack on the debate stage, they still likely to get the same number of votes. If fact they might get a few extra sympathy votes.

      1. The Zombie vote goes 100% for other Zombies?

  21. The reality is that the States are not ready to prevent fraud via the mail just like they can’t seem to handle fraud with in-person voting either.

    The Democrat party will claim that there isn’t any voter fraud, but they know that there are lots of instances around. Wide spread voting by mail adds new opportunities for fraud. If Democrats were opposed to fraud they would be in favor of showing an ID when voting in-person.

    Fervent Party Animals will justify committing voter fraud by saying that “This election is the most critical in our lifetime”. In reality they simply feel that the “Ends Justify the Means” and are willing to cheat to achieve their goals.

    Hopefully both Trump and Biden will lose the election and Jo Jorgensen will be our next President.

    1. You must play the lottery a lot – – – – – – – –

  22. You should note that many accept the idea of voters showing IDs. What is objected to is that ID are selected to exclude some people. We need and ID that gives us the information needed and also is easy to get.

    1. “”What is objected to is that ID are selected to exclude some people.””


      1. Student IDs not allowed, hangun licenses yes in Texas. Supreme court says this discrepancy is allowable 5-4 decision. Texas succeeded in reducing student voting by 4% when they implemented the ID requirement which excluded student photo IDs.

        1. Student IDs are not government granted, nor official in any capacity outside the university in question.

        2. That difference could easily be explained by any number of differences. And the vast majority of us have drivers licenses. People who don’t have one can get an ID in several other ways (passport, free non-driver ID from the DMV).

          The complaint that ID is impossible to get is absurd on its face except for a tiny fraction of people, primarily the homeless and indigent.

        3. Student IDs are not allowed, because they don’t typically meet the objective criteria: Showing your legal residence, for instance, or showing your citizenship status.

          All the university cares is that the person showing up in class had their tuition check clear. They don’t actually care that they’re going by their real name, or are honest about where they live.

      2. Dead people. And they vote 100% democrat, so this is obviously an unfair dirty Republican trick.

    2. You want to see how fair and equal certain constitutional rights are, suggest that only a concealed carry permit be accepted for voter id.

    3. Racist countries demanding voter ID in the form of a government issued identification:
      United Kingdom

      Just terrible.

      1. Those are all mostly white countries you racist! Then again, democracy and rule of law are white supremacist concepts I am told.

  23. Elections are only difficult if they are deliberately made difficult. We’ve been doing elections for hundreds of years.

    If all this malicious nonsense results in is distrust about the outcome, the evil fuckers win. If you don’t see an attempt to screw you out of democracy for the narrow interests literally of one man’s ego, then you can take your paeans to freedom and shove them up your proto-fascist assholes.

    The message has been delivered. If Joe Biden does not win not only the uphill climb of the electoral college, but in a convincing enough rout to put aside all questions, then the evil fuckers win by sowing a narrative of illegitimacy that can last as long as they desire.

    But it wouldn’t work without screeching sheep making every excuse imaginable for the anti-democratic forces of evil. What do you guys want to happen? You want republicans to continue to make policy for your life indefinitely, regardless of whether they actually legitimately earn the consent of the governed? Do you even care if that is just or sustainable? Or do you just want to watch the world burn, with Trump as your arsonist?

    1. The message has been delivered. If Joe Biden does not win not only the uphill climb of the electoral college, but in a convincing enough rout to put aside all questions, then the evil fuckers win by sowing a narrative of illegitimacy that can last as long as they desire.

      “From you, dad! I learned it by watching you the last four years of media screeching!”

      1. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

    2. The message has been delivered. If Joe Biden does not win not only the uphill climb of the electoral college, but in a convincing enough rout to put aside all questions, then the evil fuckers win by sowing a narrative of illegitimacy that can last as long as they desire.

      Are we talking about the aftermath of the 2016 election or the potential aftermath of the 2020 election?

      1. Irony and Tony are unacquainted.

      2. It is what it is. I’m talking about the lies. Republicans lie.

  24. Holy cow, the old adage, “we put a man on the moon but we can’t…” applies here. The Bush-Gore debacle happened 20 years ago. Covid hit back in March. We better have a solution by November. This is embarrassing and frustrating. One of the biggest frustrations is that we have a president who, instead of leading the charge in helping create a sound system, seems bent on sabotaging it with rumor and fear-mongering. We are such a banana republic.

    1. The president has absolutely zero power or authority to do anything at all about how elections are conducted.

      Why would you want the president involved at all?

    2. He doesn’t need to lead any charge. There’s already a system in place called absentee voting. It has clear rules and LAWS, which the Democrats are attempting to break. I personally think Trump should have arrested and tried for sedition and treason, any secretaries of state who try to push this garbage through. Unless mail in voting is passed by house and senate, it’s against the law! Republicans are thoroughly sick of Dem cheating, and they’re the one’s with most of the bang bang sticks. Unless Dems are trying to write a check their big fat welfare asses can’t cash, they better back tf off this one.

    3. “Holy cow, the old adage, “we put a man on the moon but we can’t…” applies here.”

      Correct. That false equivalence applies here exactly as it applies most everywhere else:
      Not at all.

  25. Hey now,

    Oregon does mail in voting, been doing it awhile. Well-oiled machine. No controversy.

    One party rule.

    Got it?

    Stop asking questions.

  26. Nothing says free and fair elections like ballots in the hands of a union monopoly:

  27. This is a good article. However, I can’t help but ask…

    Does this article represent the media inching towards suggesting a… delay in the election?

  28. Trump never threaten to delay the election. if you can’t even get that right then the rest of this article is for shit.

    1. When he does explicitly threaten to do so, will you still be defending him? I bet you will!

      1. When he does explicitly threaten to do so

        Tony’s crystal ball looks exactly like a road apple, but that doesn’t stop him from making predictions.

  29. Personally I have no problem with absentee voting, that is the kind you have to register for your ballot, proving you are of voting age and a US citizen.
    I do have a problem with mass mailing of ballots to everywhere and anywhere in the country, with no proof of age, residency or citizenship.
    Yet few if any of these articles mention the distinction between the two types of voting by mail.

    1. The states are not mailing out ballots, they are mailing out applications for absentee ballots. All the horseshit complaining is about the mailing of the applications.

    2. It’s a sure bet that I’ll have my 13yo fill out my ballot if one indeed is mailed to me.

  30. What’s to keep someone from collecting mail-in ballots from voters, then filling the out themselves? I suppose you could argue that it was the choice of the voter to allow someone else to fill it out, but what about those times where providing one’s mail-in ballot was coerced or “purchased”? I think less than half the population actually votes. Just give someone compensation in exchange for their mail-in ballot, or maybe you belong to a union and the union representative comes around to collect the ballots, to be filled in later. Organize some homeless to provide their information in exchange for a little money.

    1. What’s to keep someone from collecting mail-in ballots from voters, then filling the out themselves?

      Nothing. But that’s what signature verification is for. Presumably if a bunch of people didn’t get ballots, but they found out their ballot had been counted, that would be cause for an investigation for fraud.

      1. What’s to keep every abusive spouse and parent from forcing their family to vote their way?

    2. What’s to keep the postal workers from never mailing you a ballot in the first place? You do know the post office has your political affiliation on database, right!? Preemptive purge at the push of a few buttons. EASY!

  31. The article would have benefitted had the writer not alternated between the fine explanations of the problems with open mail-in voting (it’s incorrect to conflate that with absentee voting) and the assertions that, because Trump alluded to those problems, they could not really be problems at all.

    1. Well, then the author would’ve been being intellectually honest. Dem mouthpieces and bobble heads have never heard of this language called honest.

  32. It would be a tragedy if people lost faith in our elections and the faith that their vote can effect change in the system. Why, without that faith that your vote can make a difference, it would be as if you were merely given a superficial vote that made no difference at all as to whether you were ruled by a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich. I shudder to think what a cynical country this might be the day people realize that their vote doesn’t make a goddamn bit of difference in how the government is going to run.

  33. Here is how we can help the economy and deal with this issue at the same time. Set up restaurants as voting stations; practice social distancing, wearing masks. The lines will be long, so you order take out. Gives the businesses a shot in the arm.

  34. Silly article. It assumes that there would be a good reason to move to a full mail in voting system. There isn’t. The only reason that it is being pushed so hard is that the Dems think that they could cheat their way to victory. And that is their only chance. It may be.

    Most people aren’t that vulnerable to being that close together and catching COVID-19 and if they have Serious comorbidities, they can request an absentee ballot. Social distancing and disinfecting voting booths are fairly easy to pull off with normal voting.

  35. This country has conducted at least two decades of experimentation with expanded mail-in voting of various types, beyond the purely traditional absentee ballot. And all of these paranoid scenarios just don’t come to pass, for the most part, and certainly not enough to make much of a difference. There just aren’t hordes of mailmen stealing ballots and throwing them in the river, there just aren’t hordes of ballots mailed to dead people that were fraudulently returned *and counted* as valid ballots. You’d think with all of the experimentation that has occurred, and with the literally hundreds of elections that have been successfully conducted, that any widespread fraud would have been discovered by now.

    1. Ha ha ha,

    2. As long as the cheaters keep winning, there’ll be no INVESTIGATIONS of voter fraud in the first place or the last. Do wolves launch an investigation after ravaging the sheep? Nothing to see here. Now open up and say baa…

    3. Are you just ignoring the multiple indictments just this year in the primaries? The Scandals of California losing 100,000 votes and New Jersey setting aside 20% of the ballots.

      Also, there is the fact that it’s very difficult to detect voter fraud, much less prove it. The idea that it just doesn’t happen because we can’t see it is willfully ignorant.

  36. Amusing how the author of the piece fails to mention the fraud uncovered in NC is perfectly legal in California.

  37. Just got the materials to request a mail in ballot . I wonder if anyone will notice if I do a mail in ballot AND vote in person?

    1. Yes, if the officials are doing their jobs. They check off the voters who come in person on the voter rolls. (These days, that can be done by computer.) Then after the polls close, they start opening absentee ballots and check each one off against the same rolls before running the ballots through the scanner. If the voting officials are working at even the level of efficiency of DMV clerk, anyone who tries to vote twice under the same identity is running a 99% chance of getting caught. Now, if you allow registration on election day so those rolls are changing even as the voters are being checked off, mistakes will happen more often, but the chances of getting away with voting twice under your own name will still be rather low.

      OTOH, it takes different tactics to catch those who used false identy(s) to register two or more times, who assumed the identity of a dead voter, or a live voter who didn’t vote, or who lied about being a citizen or a felon on their registration. And sometimes poll officials relieve citizens of the burden of cheating by doing it themselves…

  38. I still get a mail in ballot from California, even though I now live in another state. I could vote in two states if I was that sort of person. I keep them– intact– just so no one can accuse me of anything. There is no way to unregister from CA. I tried to find a way and failed.

    Not that they aren’t equally adept at in-person voting fraud. I can’t even remember how many packets of voting materials were mailed to my address in CA– to names and people who never lived there. If I took the packet to the poll and handed it to them saying “this person doesn’t I’ve here”, they’d look at me like I was nuts, and just put it aside. No attempt to cross out the name and address on the master list.

    “The main reason why voter fraud is so rare is that individual votes are worth very little, but the punishments for getting caught voting fraudulently are serious.” Well, that’s irrelevant when the “voter” isn’t a real person, and only the ballot is real.

  39. A lot of people are trapped outside the US because of the Red Chinese Communivirus. Ballots have to be ordered NOW to have any hope of getting them in banana republic, caudillo or socialist mail monopolies, and these international ballots have to be received in Texas a month ahead of election day. I don’t know abt other states.

  40. Trump did not say delay the election, he was trolling the MSM, progressives, and obviously libertarians.

    When did REASON become a shill for the Dems and progressives?

    “The coronavirus has killed tens of thousands of Americans, ended the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, and forced us to reconsider every form of human interaction. Among them is the foundation of democratic society: voting.” What, we have had epidemics before and were able to vote in person. Just mailing ballots out to anyone and having no accountability as to who actually voted seems ripe for corruption, no matter the party. And, how long are we supposed to wait for the “late” ballots< Or, what if my ballot gets lost?

    If we can go to Wal-Mart, the liquor store, or a mostly peaceful protest, we can vote in person.

  41. Delay the election much past early Nov and we’re likely to end up in a 20th amendment situation come Jan 20th. Then we’ll have a real sh*tstorm on our hands.

    1. Yup, here’s how it will play out: Joe Biden will remind everyone what a turd he is and coupled with his idiotic gaffes, will cut whatever lead he might have now in the polls to within spitting distance for Trump. If things are better with COVID by election time, it will work in Trump’s favor, and if they’re not, it will not really hurt him that much because they won’t likely be as bad as they were back in the Spring, but states will have to scramble to come up with mail in voting and most will mess it up, so we are definitely not going to know until Mid December at the earliest, and it will probably be very close with multiple recounts dragging out right up until January 20th. I suspect by then, more Americans will have died from alcohol poisoning than COVID.

  42. This article is disingenuous in that it tends to conflate mail-in voting with absentee voting. They are not the same. Absentee voting requires that a voter submit a request for a ballot, which is then verified before a ballot is mailed to the voter.

    In contrast, the mail-in schemes currently being advocated entail mass mailings of ballots to all registered voters. Since voter registration rolls inevitably include many thousands of voters who are deceased or have moved out of the jurisdiction, there will be ballots that can be — and in many instances will be — fraudulently used by others.

    Whether the extent of fraud is on the level anticipated by President Trump, or perhaps a good deal less, there can be no question that fraud will occur. In tight races, it may well be enough to change the outcome.

    1. Couple that with the Democrat’s insistence that any attempt to enforce the law and purge the rolls voter suppression, the complete lack of a chain of custody and the questionable policy of allowing ballot harvesting and you have the perfect recipe for what Democrat’s do best which is voter fraud. Unions have been performing that task for years but the Democrats want to bring fraud mainstream. They want others to be able to fill of ballots for those too frail to do so themselves. If you are too frail and Job Biden like to fill out a ballot, you shouldn’t vote.

      1. Or you could just learn to accept that other people get to vote besides the all-knowing philosopher citizens who have deemed Donald Trump not a fat insane racist raping horror.

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  44. When Oregon started full time mail in ballots, it took three years to get it going smoothly. There isn’t three months now.

    I think voting should be a holiday weekend, with Saturday and Sunday, then Monday a National holiday, and Tuesday voting on a work day.

    Absentee balloting could continue, but if you can’t make it in four days, or order an absentee ballot and vote your are too stupid, or lazy, or both too vote.

  45. The problem with mail-in ballots comes when the ballots are opened and the voter has declined to vote in a particular race. It’s altogether too easy for a crook with a pencil and a party affiliation to mark in a vote for his/her candidate on someone else’s ballot.

    In the past, Libertarians have urged a “None of the Above” option on the ballot for each race. Nevada passed this and the rest of the states need to follow.

    I’ve written the Secretary of State’s office in my corrupt state (Georgia) and had no response. Does anyone want to take this up as an issue for honest voting?

  46. This is yet another ploy by the left to corrupt our voting in an attempt to gain power. This is not a sudden decision as it seems but part of their overall plan. They fight against voter ID laws and against purging voter rolls to keep them accurate then insist on sending ballots out to every person registered. Millions of ballots will be sent out to the deceased and those that have moved. Some will receive two ballots due to having a change of address with the USPS.
    What is truly insulting is their insistence it is the only safe way to vote. Opening more polls and early voting would be just as safe or if sending out ballots a requirement to return them in person which would make lines move much faster and less waiting.
    In Nevada the state passed a controversial voting by mail and ballot harvesting bill in the middle of the night on a weekend. If you read what it allows you will be alarmed and understand where the left is going with this. If the normal decent Americans do not vote in large enough numbers to overcome the fraud planned America will become socialist and not be America any longer.

    1. Not a single thing you’ve typed here is factual.

      Republicans enact voter ID laws, close polling stations in black neighborhoods, and destroy the post office right before a majority mail-in election…

      … Damn those Democrats fucking with the election!

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  49. “You vote by mail with the infrastructure you have, not the infrastructure you wish you had.”
    This overly-bloated article does not prove the thesis in the headline. So it may take days or a few weeks to sort out – so what? Anyone remember Bush vs Gore in 2000? All will be well. Calm down. Nothing to see here.

  50. Can we vote by mail in the U.S? Absolutely.
    Can we set up a reliable and open vote-by-mail system, in the middle of Covid and big-city riots, for a hugely-contentious election, in 30 days? Not happening.
    We could start in December, test the system in local elections, run it during off-year primaries and the 2022 election, shake the bugs out, and be ready for 2024. But not in 2020.

  51. Not ready?

    Well put on your pants and get ready because that is what is going to happen.

  52. I smell another Obamacare website fuck up of epic proportions on the way. Can’t stand Trump but can’t fathom the inept government pulling this off and being all legit. I feel disenfranchised already!

  53. President Trump threatens to delay the election over at-home voting,

    A rhetorical question at the end of a tweet is now a “thread”… according to Reason.

    but a bigger problem looms: States haven’t prepared for a huge influx of mail-in ballots.

    That is, in fact, why Trump raised the issue.

    Apparently Reasoning is threatening to delay the election as well. Let’s lock up the Reason editors for election interference!

    1. I hate autocorrect

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  55. Democrats WILL CHEAT, they are inherently corrupt sociopaths. ONE VOTER, ONE VOTE, ONE DAY. ID REQUIRED.

  56. This is what will occur. Dems/bolsheviks and some Republicans will hire firms to identify registered voters who have not voted in the last election. They will play a visit to these folks and offer “help” in selecting the right “candidate” with “walking round money”. Sorry you have to get your fat ass to a public location to vote period…I’m fine with allowing for early voting but you have to show up..sorry that is the way it should be

  57. When you mail in your ballot, how do you prove you ever mailed it?
    When somebody tosses your ballot in the trash, how do you know it happened? How many different people will be handling these ballots and where will they be when they do? How do you determine the difference between a real ballot and a forged ballot?
    Will I have to pay for a return receipt? Will they have enough people to sign individually for each ballot? Enough time to sign for each ballot? Does a return receipt even help… what happens to my ballot after it is signed for? Who enters my vote to the total vote and what makes them enter it the same as my vote? What if I never get a ballot? What if I get other people’s ballots in my mail?
    Everybody is going to the stores and shopping… but they can’t go in person to vote?

  58. How secure are the post offices where these ballots will be sitting? Who guards all of these post offices overnight when the lights go out?
    Who will watch each mailman or mail woman as they handle my ballot?

  59. What happens when the new president is declared and then a week later somebody finds a bunch of uncounted ballots hidden somewhere? How do we not fall into civil war at that point?

    1. That is a feature not a bug of this strategy. Nothing short of a Marxist revolution is being attempted here in the US.

  60. Liberals tried to nullify the last election with the phony Russia BS and the abuse of power by the FBI, NSA and Justice Department that makes Nixon nothing but a piker.
    This mass mail voting is clearly in place to be used to do the same.

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