It’s time to get serious about the risks of mail-in voting

In 1871, the famed political cartoonist Thomas Nast had William “Boss” Tweed, the famously corrupt New York politician, boast, “As long as I count the Votes, what are you going to do about it?” In the 21st century, we’ve added a new wrinkle, which is a ballot’s journey from the voter to the person who’s doing the counting. In addition to inviting fraud, the Democrats’ new fealty to mail-in voting destroys the privacy that has long protected voters against intimidation.

Democrats are grimly determined to shut down the polls and rely solely on voting by mail. This does not mean voting using absentee ballots, which have a decent reputation. Absentee ballots require that the voter act affirmatively to obtain an absentee ballot. The Democrats’ dream, which is already a reality in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah, is to shut down polling places entirely and rely solely on the post office to get votes from the voter to the government for counting.

California was not a “mail only” state until this summer, when it used the excuse of the Wuhan virus to enact a law mandating that every registered voter get a ballot in the mail. This will happen without regard to whether people have moved, died, or fraudulently registered. The state will be papered with 51 million ballots regardless of whether there are 51 million registered recipients.

The possibilities for fraud are endless. It’s easy to list them: Stealing envelopes that the mail carrier has just delivered to the addresses, stealing envelopes left in mailboxes or apartment lobbies for mail pick-up, unscrupulously filling out ballots for voters through ballot harvesting, volunteering to help the elderly and then taking advantage of them, and having corrupt mail carriers volunteer to “lose” ballots from neighborhoods known to lean left or right.

But while everyone has been focusing on fraud, there are a couple of other problems that people are ignoring. The first is the fact that the United States Post Office relies on human beings, and human beings are fallible. With the best will in the world, they’re going to make mistakes.

On Fox News’s WSJ at Large, Gerry Baker provides an excellent survey detailing the risks associated with voting by mail. J. Christian Adams then explains about the risk arising from the post office’s mistakes, the mistakes that a registrar of voters can make, and general voting fraud:

Here’s just some of what he had to say:

First of all, we know that vote by mail disenfranchises voters. The Post Office only has a success rate goal of 96% on-time delivery. That’s 4% failure. That would have been 120 electoral votes in states with a 4% margin in 2016. So vote by mail disenfranchises people, they get rejected. That’s the first problem. The second problem is it cranks in vulnerability into the election. I don’t want to put the fate of the country into the hands of the people who regularly deliver me my neighbor’s mail.

The other thing that people are ignoring is that there is no ballot privacy with mail-in votes. Your name is on the envelope. Whoever opens the envelope will know exactly how you voted.

We already have a strong suspicion that Trump supporters are hiding from pollsters because they don’t want a stranger somewhere in America, or even in a call center in India, to know that they support Trump. Imagine those same voters having to grapple with the fact that an employee down the road at the civic center building is going to know exactly how they voted.

And speaking of those employees, there’s the risk that, if they pull a vote from an envelope and disagree with it, they’ll trash it. That’s not going to happen in a modern voting system where the votes are tallied in the booth or put in a scanner at the polling place.

If you want your vote counted and to have the full benefit of a private ballot, go to your polling place on Nov. 3. Another thing you might consider is volunteering at a polling site. Because of the risks the Wuhan virus poses to the elderly who often staff polling places, there’s a concern that those sites will be understaffed, something Democrats use as another justification for mail-in voting.

Image: Thomas Nast cartoon 1871, in the Library of Congress.

In 1871, the famed political cartoonist Thomas Nast had William “Boss” Tweed, the famously corrupt New York politician, boast, “As long as I count the Votes, what are you going to do about it?” In the 21st century, we’ve added a new wrinkle, which is a ballot’s journey from the voter to the person who’s doing the counting. In addition to inviting fraud, the Democrats’ new fealty to mail-in voting destroys the privacy that has long protected voters against intimidation.

Democrats are grimly determined to shut down the polls and rely solely on voting by mail. This does not mean voting using absentee ballots, which have a decent reputation. Absentee ballots require that the voter act affirmatively to obtain an absentee ballot. The Democrats’ dream, which is already a reality in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah, is to shut down polling places entirely and rely solely on the post office to get votes from the voter to the government for counting.

California was not a “mail only” state until this summer, when it used the excuse of the Wuhan virus to enact a law mandating that every registered voter get a ballot in the mail. This will happen without regard to whether people have moved, died, or fraudulently registered. The state will be papered with 51 million ballots regardless of whether there are 51 million registered recipients.

The possibilities for fraud are endless. It’s easy to list them: Stealing envelopes that the mail carrier has just delivered to the addresses, stealing envelopes left in mailboxes or apartment lobbies for mail pick-up, unscrupulously filling out ballots for voters through ballot harvesting, volunteering to help the elderly and then taking advantage of them, and having corrupt mail carriers volunteer to “lose” ballots from neighborhoods known to lean left or right.

But while everyone has been focusing on fraud, there are a couple of other problems that people are ignoring. The first is the fact that the United States Post Office relies on human beings, and human beings are fallible. With the best will in the world, they’re going to make mistakes.

On Fox News’s WSJ at Large, Gerry Baker provides an excellent survey detailing the risks associated with voting by mail. J. Christian Adams then explains about the risk arising from the post office’s mistakes, the mistakes that a registrar of voters can make, and general voting fraud:

Here’s just some of what he had to say:

First of all, we know that vote by mail disenfranchises voters. The Post Office only has a success rate goal of 96% on-time delivery. That’s 4% failure. That would have been 120 electoral votes in states with a 4% margin in 2016. So vote by mail disenfranchises people, they get rejected. That’s the first problem. The second problem is it cranks in vulnerability into the election. I don’t want to put the fate of the country into the hands of the people who regularly deliver me my neighbor’s mail.

The other thing that people are ignoring is that there is no ballot privacy with mail-in votes. Your name is on the envelope. Whoever opens the envelope will know exactly how you voted.

We already have a strong suspicion that Trump supporters are hiding from pollsters because they don’t want a stranger somewhere in America, or even in a call center in India, to know that they support Trump. Imagine those same voters having to grapple with the fact that an employee down the road at the civic center building is going to know exactly how they voted.

And speaking of those employees, there’s the risk that, if they pull a vote from an envelope and disagree with it, they’ll trash it. That’s not going to happen in a modern voting system where the votes are tallied in the booth or put in a scanner at the polling place.

If you want your vote counted and to have the full benefit of a private ballot, go to your polling place on Nov. 3. Another thing you might consider is volunteering at a polling site. Because of the risks the Wuhan virus poses to the elderly who often staff polling places, there’s a concern that those sites will be understaffed, something Democrats use as another justification for mail-in voting.

Image: Thomas Nast cartoon 1871, in the Library of Congress.