The year 2020 has been filled with upheavals and difficulties affecting every facet of society. But the shifting and tumultuous period is far from over. With the presidential election fast approaching, the question of how it will be conducted is important to investigate. COVID-19 has forced many businesses to temporarily close or shift the way they function, thus hinting at the likelihood of the 2020 election using mail in ballots in lieu of in-person voting.
The probability of the majority of Americans turning to mail-in-ballots warrants some concerns. On one hand, some have suggested that mail-in-ballots generate higher levels of voter fraud. Others have suggested that it will lead to skewing of election results as many ballots have the possibility of being rejected. The combination of these concerns gives rise to weariness when it comes to voting by mail.
In a statement, President Trump addressed his concerns about voter fraud, maintaining that “you get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room, signing ballots all over the place.” He continued to express his concerns that this activity would tamper with the integrity of the election, leading to inaccurate results. Despite his concerns, however, numerous studies completed at both the state and federal level have determined that mail-in-ballots do not contribute to higher levels of voter fraud.
Concerns for voter fraud aside, there is the opposite issue of individual’s votes not being counted. This is reflected by a statement from NBC News which asserts that “ballots can be tossed for voter errors like not signing in all the right places, having a signature that doesn’t exactly match one’s voter registration signature, or reaching election officials too late.” These obstacles present significant challenges to the preservation of democracy. If not every vote is counted, how then are we to be certain that the correct official is elected?
To ensure the election runs smoothly it is vital to understand how the vote-by-mail process works. Firstly, voters must check with their state to see if they qualify for a mail-in-ballot. In some states, fear of the coronavirus pandemic is not sufficient reasoning to obtain a mail-in-ballot. If you do qualify, however, the process of voting by mail goes as follows. First, the voter must request their absentee ballot by submitting their name, address, and address they plan to vote from. Once the request is received, a ballot is sent by local election authorities. The ballot includes two envelops, and it is imperative that the second envelope is signed to certify that the individual is a registered voter. Once the local authorities receive the envelope, they certify that the signature matches the one on file, thereby ensuring authenticity of the voter. If the signature is correct, the next envelope is opened, and the ballot is counted. It is beyond vital that individuals carefully read every step on the instructions to ensure their vote is properly processed.
This election year is destined to be one of intensity and it is of immense importance that voters are diligent and intelligent when they go about sending in a vote. Though the shift to vote-by-mail is feasible, it is bound to highlight shortcomings in our democracy. Come November, we are surely set to see an interesting election occur.