Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit around March 2020, there’s been worldwide quarantines to help stop the spread of the virus. As the 2020 presidential election arrives in November, there obviously needs to be a way to vote, and since people crowding the voting polls could risk people getting sick, the US government has resorted to mail-in voting.
This decision hasn’t come without concerns from either party. I decided to ask several people in my house with varying political views their opinion on the main-in ballot voting to see how people from different parties view the new mail-in policy. I asked Chris, my uncle who’s an independent but slightly leaning Republican; Crystal, my aunt who’s an Independent, and Jonathan, my dad, who’s a Republican.
What do you think about the mail-in ballots for the voting in November?
Chris: “My opinion on it is that we are requesting for a different approach for voting that’s not hindering the population within the spread of the virus. And, you know, I can agree with the fact that it is understandably why you’re trying to do it, however, we’ve been going through this ever since February, and if it was being taken as seriously as it should have been, then we would’ve had something more secure in place long ago. But there is a much bigger risk with the mail-in voting than there would be normally.”
Crystal: “I like the idea behind it, just considering the pandemic, so the option of not having to go in to vote is nice, but I don’t know if I would necessarily trust it just because of a history of there being issues with ballot counting and stuff like that.”
Jonathan: “I don’t like it. It’s going to be one of the biggest scams in election history. I think the Democrats are going to find some way to scam it. One way or the other, it’ll be a scam because if Trump wins through mail-in ballots, they’re gonna hold off the election and say ‘Well, all of the ballots aren’t in yet’, and find a way to scam it. And if Trump doesn’t win, it’ll still be a scam.”
Are you going to vote in November?
Chris: “Yes. Absolutely.”
Crystal: “No. Well, I’m not sure. See, I don’t particularly favor either candidate, but if it comes down to it. and I have to choose or settle for one, then yes, but I won’t do it happily.”
If so, do you feel as comfortable voting by mail as you would going to the polls that your vote isn’t going to get messed with?
Chris: “No, I do not. But I just have to trust that nothing corrupt happens because if I don’t vote then I know that it’s not going to matter.”
Crystal: “Do I trust it? You can’t. You can’t trust it. You do it and hope for the best. Trust is a hard one in America, and right now there isn’t a whole lot going around.”
Jonathan: “I don’t. It’s a scam. It’s all a scam. I’m not voting by mail anyway. I’m going to my nearest voting center and doing it that way so I know it’s not going to be messed with.”
On Tuesday at the White House, Trump said, “Mail ballots, they cheat. Mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters. They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases. They have to vote. They should have voter ID, by the way,” when asked about the mail-in voting for the upcoming election.
Though ballot voting isn’t a new practice. It dates all the way back to the 1800’s during the Civil War. People are only newly concerned about it due to Donald Trump’s recent statements on the topic, with his supporters following the same opinion.
There’s a huge concern for voter fraud, though it is extremely rare and hard to do correctly. A study in 2016 after the presidential election said that there were very few credible accusations of voter fraud. Mr Stewart, a professor of political science who studies the mechanics of voting, when asked about it, says, “They’re stories, they are dramatic, they are rare.”
A recent study also revealed that states like Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and several others that already vote entirely by mail see little to no fraud. Oregon was the first state to adopt complete mail-in voting in 1998 and has had very little to no scam or fraud. With mail-in voting, Oregon’s hourly workers don’t need to take time off or try to find a way to go to a voting station. They can vote at home in their spare time or any time they like, and there’s rush or pressure to go somewhere and vote.
Colorado has 3.5 million registered voters and has been a strictly mail-in vote state since 2014.
Judd Choate, the Director of Elections in the Colorado State Department, when asked about their voting system, said, “There is very little evidence that there is more than a handful of fraudulent vote-by-mail cases across the country in a given election cycle.”
There’s been concerns from both Democratic and Republican parties about the mail voting system. Trump tweeted, “For some reason, mail-in voting just doesn’t work for Republicans.”
In Georgia, the State House Speaker, David Ralston, a Republican, said regarding voting, “This will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.”
Though mail-in voting has historically been in favor of Democrats, many have some security concerns. They’re worried about the reduced security due to not being required to appear and physically vote at polls.
Nonetheless, we’ll see how it goes in November come voting time. Will it work just fine? Or will there be issues?