Election Coverage / Government Watch / Politics

We Shouldn’t Be Promoting Voting By Mail


Ask yourself: If you won $500 million in the Powerball lottery, would you put your winning ticket into an envelope and trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver it to the state agency that administers the lottery? Or would you want to deliver your ticket personally to lottery officials to ensure that they received it and acknowledge that you are the owner of that ticket?

The answer is pretty obvious to just about anyone. So why would we want to encourage voters to cast their ballots through the mail or place them in unsupervised, unsecured “drop” boxes instead of voting in person in a polling place?

A polling place under the bipartisan supervision of election officials and the observation of poll watchers has numerous advantages. It helps ensure not only that the ballots are completed by the registered voters and deposited in a locked, sealed ballot box, but also that the voters’ eligibility and identity are verified; that no voters are pressured or coerced to vote a particular way by candidates, party activists, and political guns-for-hire, who are all prohibited from being inside the polling place; and that no ballots get “lost” in the mail or not delivered on time.

To the average person, a ballot may not be as valuable as a $500 million lottery ticket, but securing our ballots so that every eligible citizen can vote in a secure, fair, and honest election is worth quite a bit. In fact, it is essential to maintaining our democratic republic.

Mail-in or absentee ballots are the ones most susceptible to being stolen, altered, and forged, and to having the voters be pressured or coerced when voting, because they are the only type of ballots marked in an unsupervised, unobserved setting. The many cases of proven absentee ballot fraud in the Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database demonstrate and underscore the reason why Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement concluded in a 1998 report that the “lack of ‘in-person, at-the-polls’ accountability make absentee ballots the ‘tool of choice’ for those inclined to commit voter fraud.”

This problem is made worse in the many states like California that allow vote trafficking, which proponents of mail-in voting call “vote harvesting” because that sounds better. Every state allows absentee ballots to be mailed back or delivered personally to election officials by the voters or, usually, members of their immediate family or a designated caregiver.

But vote-trafficking states allow any third-party stranger to go to voters’ homes to pick up and deliver their ballot. In other words, these states give political actors with a stake in the outcome of the election the ability to handle a very valuable commodity — the ballots that can ensure the victory (or defeat) of their election or the election of the candidates who they work for and support, giving them the opportunity to complete, alter, or simply fail to deliver those ballots.

That is an unwise, reckless policy. Numerous cases show that, too, such as the Ninth Circuit congressional race in North Carolina in 2018, which was overturned by the state board of elections due to “concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail ballots,” including illegal vote trafficking by a political consultant and his associates.

The targets of these types of schemes are often the most vulnerable voters. A trial court described the “predatory pattern” in an absentee ballot fraud conspiracy in a Democratic mayoral primary in East Chicago, Indiana, in 2003. The fraudsters targeted “first-time voters or [those] otherwise less informed or lacking in knowledge of the voting process, the infirm, the poor, and those with limited skills in the English language.” That election was overturned in a decision upheld by the state Supreme Court.

But even when fraud doesn’t occur, mail-in voting is still a bad idea for several reasons. The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service released a report in 2019 on its delivery of election-related mail — including mail-in ballots — in the 2018 election. Its goal was timely delivery of absentee/mail-in ballots 96 percent of the time — not 100 percent. That means that even if the Postal Service met its goal, 4 percent of all voters would potentially not have their mailed ballots delivered on time to be counted. The report said that on average nationally, the service achieved its goal 95.6 percent of the time.

But the worst mail-processing facilities in the country in places like California, Illinois, and New Jersey only managed to deliver this very important election mail 84.2 percent of the time. Imagine the screaming headlines if a jurisdiction was rejecting 16 percent of all of the ballots cast by voters in person in a particular polling place or region. Everyone would rightfully be upset, but the fact that this is happening with mail-in ballots according to the Postal Service’s own inspector general doesn’t even raise a murmur.

Mail-in ballots also have a higher rejection rate than ballots cast in person. There is no election official in voters’ home to answer questions or remedy potential problems. In 2012, before the progressive love affair with mail elections started, even the New York Times published a critical report that concluded that “votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth.” What’s changed? Nothing.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission publishes a report after every federal election. Its report on the 2020 election shows that more than 500,000 of the absentee/mailed ballots returned by voters to election officials were rejected and not counted. But even more disturbing is that of the almost 91 million mailed ballots sent to voters by election officials in all states, only 70 million were returned.

What happened to those other 20 million-plus ballots? Did voters simply decide not to return them? Did they never get them because they were delivered to an incorrect address? Were they picked up by vote traffickers who then trashed them because they realized that particular voters had a history of voting for candidates of the opposite party? We don’t know.

Again, there would be screaming headlines if in-person polling places across the country had records showing that 20 million ballots were missing and hadn’t been counted and election officials had no idea what happened to them.

No one is arguing that we get rid of absentee voting entirely. Some individuals are too disabled or ill to vote in person or may be unable to do so for other valid reasons, such as our military personnel and their families who are stationed abroad. But given the long periods of early, in-person voting available in most states today, it is difficult to imagine that there are many other individuals who need to vote through the mail because they are out of town or unavailable on Election Day or the many other days they can vote in person.

Given the inherent security problems with mail-in ballots, their use should be very limited, and states should protect the integrity of the absentee-voting process by ensuring accurate voter-registration rolls, requiring voter identification, banning permanent absentee-ballots lists that risk ballots being mailed by election officials to voters who have died or moved out of state, and prohibiting vote trafficking.

One final note. Maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the election process is essential to ensuring that citizens participate. Processing and counting mail-in ballots takes longer than processing ballots cast in person, especially when states imprudently allow absentee ballots to be returned days after Election Day. A recent poll by the Trafalgar Group shows that the longer it takes for election officials to report election results, the less likely the public is to trust the results.

That is just another reason for minimizing mail-in balloting and making it more secure.

Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow and manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department lawyer and FEC commissioner. He is the co-author of Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote.

Reprinted with Permission from - The American Spectator by - Hans A. Von Spakovsky

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William G
5 months ago

As I’ve said before, Washington state uses mail-in ballots, and this is why Democrats have stayed in power for soooo long!

5 months ago

And how do our Armed Forces that are stationed all over the globe get to vote? They should be allowed mail in ballots or you are restricting these honorable voters.

5 months ago

Voting by mail is a plus to elderly voters & wide open states that are a long distance from election sites. How can you expect 60-70-80-90 year old people to stand in long longs so they can vote in person? Lastly, Biden won 2020 election by +6-million popular votes & it is very hard for me to believe that many ballots were stolen from mail service & falsified.

Robin W Boyd
5 months ago

Voting by mail is open to corruption and voter fraud. No mail in voter form should ever be sent to anyone who did not specifically request it, and only absentee voters and those with medical limits should be exempt from voting in person.

5 months ago

Each state has elected legislative control under the US Constitution and it should be the same in every state.If you want mail-in voting, the state can make that a law. You voted for your state represenatives so, you should know if they support in -person or mail-in voting.You should also know who your childern voted for. If you feel mail-in voting is a violation of American citizens right to fair elections, as I do, you have to know who you and your family members should be electing in your city, county, state and federal elections.We, the mature Americans, allowed this process of suffocating the American dream, that our forefathers established, by being by sanders. Yes, we voted, but we didn’t notice our childern being indoctrinated. After all, we trained them right, we did our part!What we did was let them stay in our homes until they were in their 30’s. School and then, ‘I can’t find a job’. The truth, they didn’t look for a job and we didn’t guide them to be self supportive. We didn’t know how they were voting and in far to many cases you still don’t. Basically how they voted was the way the were taught and indoctrinated. Free is best, something for nothing!This midterm election I confirmed that all my childern voted. I discussed the way I understood what was happening in our government and where it would lead. Then I told them that if they didn’t vote and find out the good, bad and the ugly about who they were going to vote for that I would start spending their enheritance.They all voted, but this time they voted because they researched and made their vote represent what they felt was good for them, their kids and their future!We all need to stand together and bring back common sence, common respect and pride in our way of life.

Michael Lewis
5 months ago

My question is does the Constitution grant Congress authority to regulate the use of mail in ballots in the States. Would a Constitutional Amendment be required to authorize the authority? Are there sufficient Red States to pass said amendment and could Republican governors convince their electorates of the necessity?

Robin W Boyd
5 months ago

Mail in voting should only be allowed for those who are not going to be in their home area at the time of an election and those who are medically incapable of going to the polls to vote. Mail in voting is too open to fraud.

5 months ago

Elections should be legal US citizens only, with ID, in person, paper ballot, transparent boxes monitored, one day voting, (and make it a federal holiday for primary & general elections). Anyone not supporting these basic concepts have only nefarious intentions.

5 months ago

Duh. Its the demon party thats behind this. Theyvebeen at this for yrs, ie making voting effortless. This way they get their welfare constituency voting along with many phantoms. The beauty of the scheme is that its been paired up with anti ethnic hatred. If you oppose it you’re a hater.

Mary Annie
5 months ago

I absolutely agree that mail in voting is flawed. In our community, USPS service is the issue — we can’t trust letter carriers to deliver our mail in a timely manner much less accurately. So why would I trust the USPS with my ballot?

What’s lacking in this discussion is what to do about it? How can we get the ball rolling on returning to going to the polls to vote?

Wickedness personified
5 months ago

One problem though, if every Republican votes on the day of election and democrats have voting machines that fail or democrats do everything in their power to slow down the process as much as possible, some Republicans leave and don’t vote. I’ve experiences that myself-democrats slow the voting down to a crawl and people have to get back to work or have deadlines and democrats steal the Republicans vote. Democrats cheat every way possible. They’ve spent their whole lives scamming and scheming. Democrats can’t win fairly because they know their positions-defund the police, take your guns from you so you can’t defend yourself although they have minute by minute protection on our dime, abortion on demand, transgender surgery on 4 and 5 yr olds w/o parental knowing or approval, lbgtq rights stealing law abiding citizens rights, climax hoax, jab hoax, etc..

Janis Nimmer
5 months ago

I can’t get to voter place in person or stand for a long period of time. I see nothing wrong with voting by mail. I have to include a photo of my drivers licence as proof of who I am. You can not afford to send out people to collect the vote from others like me. Come up with another way for people like me to vote. OK?

5 months ago
Reply to  Janis Nimmer

You would be the person, and others like you, that have a valid reason to vote by mail. The military personnel that are not at their home to vote also qualify for the mail ballot. This is how it worked before some states did the mass mailing for the voters. That is the exception, but if I would mail my ballot I would send it certified with a return receipt that the county voting office did receive the ballot.
The beauty of sending it certified is you can track where your ballot is during the mail travel process and you have some proof that it did get to the poll to be counted on election day.

5 months ago

I like early voting especially when you have small children. I want us to make voting available to our service people.

legally present
5 months ago
Reply to  Linda

My Granddaughter works 2 jobs, has 3 children under 8, and she found time to vote. BUT every Service member should have the right to vote!

William C Smith
5 months ago

Valid points all around. Voting standards, rules and procedures should be established by Congress, then utilized locally. Mail-in ballots extend the franchise to military and civilian personnel based away from their home disricts, and to those eligible to vote but with difficulty going physically to polling places. Perhaps all election personnel, even volunteers, should be subjected to FBI background checks. Eliminate suspect devices like drop boxes and the possibility of fraud inherent in ballot-harvesting. Without assured voting and counting integrity, voters will lose confidence in the system of governance devised by serious-minded people in different eras. Reduce voting periods to one day. Enact election holidays to ensure every voter has the time and freedom to cast a timely vote. Mail-in votes should have a prior time specific gauged to enable receipt of ballots cast on or before election day

5 months ago

The author showed a good example of why mail in ballots should not be allowed.
Absentee ballots have been used for many years and includes the military who may be out of country. Absentee ballots have to be requested and have safeguards to prevent or make election fraud more difficult. An Absentee Ballot can be mailed in or handed directly to a clerk.
But people have received multiple Mail In Ballots that were not requested. That allows someone to wrongfully fill out multiple Mail In Ballots and deposit them in drop boxes. Which is why neither Mail In Ballots nor Drop Boxes should be allowed.
Mail in ballots and drop boxes were shown to be widely abused and is the subject of the video “2000 Mules”. Election fraud is common, always has been and shown to be very easy, numerous times .
You may not hear about election fraud and or irregularities for the same reason you didn’t hear about Hunter Biden’s laptop and all the incriminating data on it, that was suppressed by Biden’s admin, Facbook, Twitter and the MSM (news media). It took an American patriot like Elon Musk to expose it, at the risk of his life.

5 months ago

maga sux

5 months ago

Here I haven’t heard of any problems with mail in ballots. Not that there couldn’t be. But if we did’nt have mail in ballots I couldn’t vote. Montana has too many remote areas that are hard to get out of especially in November. I would hate it if they were outlawed.

5 months ago
Reply to  lwbuchholz

@Iwbuchholz–What you are calling mail-in ballots in Montona are really absentee ballots, especially in a rural area like Montona where your closest neighbor is not close by and the mail person drives to get to your house. You are directly given the ballot by your mail person, who in term directly sends it to the correct address. The volume of mail handled in Montana is much less and less likely to be misdirected or lost than what happens in urban settings.
What conditions that enable mail-in ballots to work in Montana are not what is occurring in other areas.

Stephen Russell
5 months ago

IF we dont adapt adopt how Dems vote we Lose 2024
As is now we lose
& Note AZ voting issues
Rerun for nation

Lee M
5 months ago

You completely missed the best reason and the one that has the most validity. Mail in voting allows the ignorant, unmotivated masses to vote what they watch on commercial network TV. Much of which is censored. How else can you explain Pennsylvania? Even here in Indiana, to vote absentee, I must request a ballot be sent to me, which requires a positive action on my part. Mail in voting requires nothing, not even a stamp. It was supposed to occur only for the Covid year, but morphed BY DESIGN to what it is now, the keys to victory for now and future democrats. There is a reason so few countries allow it, not even banana republics for the most part. But here we are, and Republican controlled state houses like in Michigan never fixed it, or were too afraid to fix it, and now they are out of power for the first time since 1984 with a dictator for a governor. So, they are to blame there. We must eliminate mail in voting, or forever lose. And lose this country.

legally present
5 months ago
Reply to  Lee M

During the 2020 election, Michigan’s DEMOCRAT Governor, SOS, and Atty. General CHANGED our election laws, and sent EVERYONE a ballot, I know someone who received a ballot in her maiden and married name, one for her ex husband that hadn’t lived in the state for up to 9 years, and one for each of her fiancee’s 2 children that hadn’t lived in the state for up to 4 years. The DEMOCRAT Governor did all this, I will never believe that gang bangers voted, I’m sure they were vote harvested. Our voter rolls MUST BE updated. NOW we have mainly Democrats in the state legislature, and the idiot Governor wants to do away with the “right to work”, you either join the union if there’s one in your job choice, OR you can’t work. That sound right to anyone???

Del Church
5 months ago

We need voting in person, with a photo ID to prove who the voter is and that they are legal registered USA Voters.!!!! South Dakota has had to prove who we are with photo Drivers license and if one does not drive they need a certified photo ID issued by the State of South Dakota.

legally present
5 months ago
Reply to  Del Church

So “did” Michigan, but the Democrat Governor changed the rules in 2020, SHE the atty. General, and SOS, changed Michigan’s voting rules!

5 months ago
Reply to  Del Church

So South Dakota does not allow absentee or mail-in ballots. This must stop a lot of people from voting in person when November winter hits SD + the fact that state is sparsely populated. What does SD do with voters that are not in good health or in rest home?

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