Written By: Dylan Parham
Mail-in ballots for everyone! Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mail-in ballots became a central topic. As of Nov. 6, over 65 million mail-in ballots were returned to election offices, according to the U.S. Election Project. The U.S. Election Project was created and maintained by the University of Florida political science professor Michael P. McDonald. In Maryland, for the primary election, every registered voter received a mail-in ballot in the mail. For the general election, every registered voter received a mail-in ballot request. Maryland’s state board of elections reported that over 1.2 million mail-in ballot votes were cast for president. In crucial swing states for both campaigns like Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, mail-in ballots amounted to a quarter or more of the total votes counted according to election data collected by Times
Even with record-high mail-in ballot requests nationwide, vote by mail still had its critics. Most notably, President Trump and his re-election campaign. The president is quoted to have said the following about voting by mail. “[mail-in ballots] …lead to massive corruption and fraud,” that foreign powers will “forge ballots” and that the “only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits in different states claiming voter fraud. In Pennsylvania, a federal judge heard one of these cases and dismissed the case. According to the New York Times, he was implying the effort to disenfranchise voters who were following state instructions.
The Biden campaign has also weighed in on the issue. Officials with the campaign have stated that they would challenge every legal case the Trump campaign would bring the court. The Biden campaign indicated that they were confident that none of the present cases so far seemed likely to loosen former Vice President Biden’s lead in key swing states for the presidency.
The Brennan Center at the New York School of Law’s report on voter fraud, “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” found that most reported incidents of voter fraud are traceable to other sources of clerical errors or bad data matching practices. The report reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud and found incident rates between 0.0003% and 0.0025%. In layman’s terms, voter fraud is extremely rare.
Mail-in ballots also have their drawbacks.”There are state laws in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada that do not allow for ballots to be counted until election day. It took several days for enough ballot results to be released to call a winner in each state.
Like many Americans, I chose to vote by mail. If this election cycle has shown anything, Americans will choose mail-in ballots if given a choice. Of course, researchers and data collectors will have to continually look at future data to see if this trend continues with the elections going forward.