Mail fraud facts, myths and how to vote by mail or absentee

Voting by mail is secure and safe.

James Martin/PJDM

This story is part of Elections 2020, PJDM’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Mail-in voting this fall will not result in “huge electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 Election,” as President Donald Trump has falsely and repeatedly claimed. And the president’s projection that the US will “by no means have a Republican elected on this nation once more” if states make it simpler to vote is political posturing.

Trump is the principle driver behind a “disinformation marketing campaign” about US voting and voters within the 2020 election, an Oct. 1 study from Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center found, after analyzing greater than 55,000 on-line media tales, 5 million tweets and 75,000 posts to public Fb pages that spurred thousands and thousands of interactions. “This extremely efficient disinformation marketing campaign, with probably profound results for each participation in and the legitimacy of the 2020 election, was an elite-driven, mass-media led course of,” the research authors wrote, noting that Trump has relied on the mainstream Fox Information community to assist unfold disinformation.

With the coronavirus claiming over 214,000 lives in the US, the continuing pandemic has created extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances anticipated to use stress to state and native election sources in an already tense marketing campaign season. Trump is currently being treated for COVID-19 and, regardless of his disinformation regarding voting by mail, is expected to again cast his vote by mail within the Nov. three presidential election.

In follow, “absentee poll” is used interchangeably with the time period “vote by mail” now that not less than 35 states have modified their insurance policies to make it simpler for anybody to use to vote with out going to the polls in an effort to curb the unfold of the coronavirus. Beforehand, many states solely allowed you to get an absentee poll in the event you have been deployed with the US armed forces, could be out of city on Election Day or in the event you have been unwell. 

In reality, as much as half of voters are expected to cast their ballot by mail this fall to maintain from buying or spreading COVID-19. We’ll clarify why extra individuals are embracing mail-in voting, which has been in use within the US for the reason that Civil Conflict, and why it continues to be a secure and safe solution to forged your vote. We additionally take a look at how each political events can profit from voting by mail.

This is what it is advisable learn about mailing in your ballot.

Learn extra: Not sure if you’re registered to vote or need to? Here’s how

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Mail-in voting does not contribute to widespread fraud

There’s no evidence of coordinated vote-by-mail fraud, with fewer than 150 criminal convictions for the crime over the last 20 years. That works out to one case per state every six or seven years.

“The lack of evidence renders [Trump’s] claims unsustainable,” Republican election lawyer Benjamin L. Ginsberg wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece in September. “The reality is that after many years of in search of unlawful voting, there is no proof of widespread fraud.” 

Regardless of spreading false info and inflicting confusion, Trump voted by mail in his home state of Florida in August. And fellow Republican politicians and Trump’s relations, together with his son Donald Trump Jr., have recorded public service announcements encouraging Republicans to vote by mail

Learn extra beneath on how election officers hold mail-in votes secure and safe.

Mail-in voting doesn’t profit one social gathering over one other

Trump has additionally incorrectly prompt that voting by mail might benefit his rival Democratic candidates. A study this spring from Stanford University discovered that voting by mail will increase turnout charges modestly, however there is no discernible impact on rising vote shares for both social gathering. 

One other study this summer season by the National Academy of Sciences additionally discovered that common vote-by-mail does not have an effect on both social gathering’s share of turnout or vote share. Every state offers some form of mail-in voting. And surveys recommend that Trump’s assaults on mail-in voting might suppress people from voting for candidates in his own Republican party.


Mail-in ballots are already going out.

Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Pictures

A delay in saying election outcomes shouldn’t be an indication of fraud

People are used to getting outcomes on election day, however widespread use of mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus might imply a ultimate rely will get pushed out a number of days and even weeks as officers course of the votes.

In main elections held earlier this 12 months, several states needed 10 days to report ultimate outcomes and a handful took almost per week to announce the ultimate tally.

With as much as half of all voters casting their poll by mail this fall, election officers are cautioning it might take days to know the ultimate outcomes of the election. 

Election officers want time to validate and rely the anticipated 150 million ballots, mentioned David Becker, government director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research. “If it takes time, it means the system is working. Accuracy over pace.”

And this fall, extra Democratic voters are expected to vote by mail than in particular person, whereas extra Republican voters are anticipated to forged their ballots in particular person than by mail, which might end in early tallies on election day exhibiting Trump within the lead, however Biden gaining over the following days as states tally absentee votes.

A mail-in vote counts the identical as an in-person vote. Listed below are your voting rights.

States use quite a lot of strategies to guard the integrity of mail-in voting

Ballots are printed on particular fraud-resistant paper to protect in opposition to faux replica and counterfeiting, and states use quite a lot of strategies to make sure the authenticity of ballots, including signature verification and post-election audits.


Drop your poll off at a mailbox.

Angela Lang/PJDM

Voting by mail might improve voter engagement on extra initiatives and candidates

Those that voted by mail stuffed out extra of their ballots than those that voted in particular person, in keeping with one Stanford University study.

Mail-in ballots are handy

Voting by mail can prevent from taking time without work from faculty or work to journey to your polling station and stand in line to vote. You can even submit your poll days and weeks forward of an election if voting on the day of the election is inconvenient or unattainable.

Mail-in ballots are one solution to defend voter well being throughout a pandemic

Through the use of a mail-in poll, voters can keep away from in-person voting locations, decreasing their likelihood of an infection. The coronavirus will be unfold by means of the air, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Oct. 5.

Easy methods to vote by mail

Every state offers some form of mail-in voting, starting from absentee ballots restricted to these unable to vote in particular person to a 100% mail-in voting system, which has been adopted in 5 states. 

To see how your state handles mail-in voting, now we have guides on find out how to vote by mail in all 50 states and how to register to vote.

For extra, this is when early voting starts in your state, why it’s nearly impossible to pull off mail fraud with absentee ballots and find out how to make sure your vote counts.

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Clifford Colby