Trump's corona stimulus includes mail-in ballot funds. Why that's a bad idea

While we can all breathe a small sigh of relief that Nancy Pelosi's Christmas wish list was ultimately dissed, a few residuals still linger in the recent $2.2-trillion stimulus package enacted by Congress and signed by President Trump.  Hidden away is a section that has not received much fanfare.  It is a cool $400 million for mail-in ballots, should the severity of the coronavirus pandemic be enough to keep people from leaving their homes for the election in November.  Of course, that determination will be made by our all-caring politicians — many of whom will be up for re-election.

Here are just some potential concerns and problems with such a project.

1. Results delays.  If this is performed on a massive scale, which is entirely possible, the results may not be known for days or even weeks after the election.  There will then be the usual share of contested results; requests for recounts; court challenges (which would present a new set of challenges, given the circumstances); and whatnot.  Not knowing who the president will be could cause more instability in the markets, even beyond what they are now, if that is even possible.  The world teetered while the results of the 2000 Bush-Gore election made their way through our court system.

2. The dead voting.  Ballots would presumably to mailed out to all currently registered voters, including many of those who might have died recently.  It is entirely possible and even probable that they will vote.

3. Same-day registrations.  Those states that allow same- or any-day registration will have no opportunity to check against those who are telling the truth and those who are legally ineligible.  This is an argument against same-day registration under normal circumstances as well.

4. Lost in the mail.  As we have all experienced at one time or another, the Postal Service is far from infallible.  Things get lost.  Under normal circumstances, this is certainly concerning.  But strictly numerically, it is relatively minor under normal circumstances due to the fact that a vast majority of voters vote in person.  However, when the Postal Service becomes flooded with an unprecedented number of ballots in one or two huge waves, conditions are ripe that some will fall through the cracks or won't be delivered on time.  In close races, particularly local ones, it can make all the difference in the world.

5. Incarcerations.  Anyone who has been incarcerated, particularly recently, could still receive his mail-in ballot, especially if he is registered.  Thirty-five states revoke voting rights for convicted felons.  As with late registrations, when a station receives tens of thousands of mail-in ballots every few days and less than a week before Election Day, there simply is not enough time to check each of their legal statuses.  Under the auspices of "every vote must count," they will be given the benefit of the doubt. 

6. Chicanery.  Who is to say that anyone from the postal handlers to the canvas workers will be 100% honest, given the polarization and the extreme hate that exists in this country today?  We have already seen conniving on the part of the left to circumvent the system and gain whatever upper hand it can.  The more hands these ballots pass through, the greater the chances of chicanery.

Mind you, there is no perfect system.  There are arguments that can be made for and against any fashion of voting.  However, this was particularly pushed by the Democrats in the recent stimulus bill, who originally wanted $4 billion but ended up with a "measly" $400 million. 

Image: Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons.

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