Rarely has there been so much emphasis on eliminating safeguards to ballot security.
Nevada is the latest, passing a 100-page bill in a “special session” that allows, along with mail-in ballots, “ballot harvesting,” which permits partisan ballot collectors to gather ballots and send them on to election officials.
Virginia now allows mail-in ballots to be submitted without a witness signature.
Election Defense notes that, “Many popular vote-by-mail and absentee systems are ripe for fraud and abuse…Vote by mail presents a serious and so-far unsolved problem: a broken chain of custody of the ballots. That means the ballots are moved without consistent public oversight, offering opportunities for fraud and mismanagement.”
According to the 2012 Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project report, “Having tens of millions of ballots being transmitted and marked without strict chain-of-custody procedures creates risks that simply do not exist with any form of in-person voting, whether on Election Day or in early-voting settings. According to a study by Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the 2008 presidential election voting by mail had an overall failure rate of as much as 21 percent.”
In the 2020 election, the issue of partisan handling of mail-in ballots is made more serious by the fact that the American Postal Workers Union has endorsed one of the candidates, Joe Biden.
New York is considering a proposed law that would require “drop boxes” for voters to place their ballots in. Embarrassingly for mail ballot advocates, a Congressional race using mail-in ballots in New York City proved disastrous. The drop box idea adds yet another unsecured, unsafe balloting procedure to an already risky process.
In New Jersey, an election for a Paterson City Council seat employing mail-in ballots went so awry that State Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela ruled that it had been irreversibly tainted due to extreme mail-in voter fraud.
The use of the controversial concept of “ballot harvesting” has led to major gains for California Democrats, which explains that Party’s support for the concept. The Independent Voters Network notes that this process allows anyone, even a paid campaign worker to collect ballots. In the aftermath, highly questionable election returns came about, altering established voting patterns.
Democrats, who have staunchly advocated for reductions in voter security measures, apparently don’t accept the same concept for internal party procedures. While demanding an end to voter ID measures in general elections, they demanded picture identification for admission to their 2016 national convention.
Democrats continue to oppose updating voter registration rolls. It’s valid to ask why. A 2016 Pew Center on the States study found that millions of voter registration records across the nation are either inaccurate or no longer valid. Pew’s study found that 2,758,578 individuals were registered to vote in more than one state, and 12.7 million records across the 50 states are out of date and do not accurately portray current information. Pew found that 24 million registration records, or nearly 13% of the national total, are inaccurate or no longer valid.
Americans have numerous contentious issues to debate, and a wide range of candidates, from conservative to socialist in ideology, to choose from. But it is unacceptable that the choosing, in the form of elections, be accomplished in anything other than an honest and trustworthy manner. The drive to eliminate valid and reasonable measures that ensure that both voter registration and actual balloting are accurate deeply wounds the nation.
Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.