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Op-ed Placement

Don’t Let Mail-In Voting Spoil the Election

06/04/2020
Originally Published in The Washington Examiner on 6/3/20.

In a break from our usual coronavirus programming, we recently got a quick look ahead to a looming issue that has major implications for the 2020 elections: voting by mail. President Trump’s cautionary tweet regarding the risk of voting by mail was met immediately by so-called fact checks. Not only is there a wealth of supporting evidence from both sides of the aisle that mail-in voting is a risk to election security, but soon after Trump was “fact-checked,” a report surfaced of one form of mail-in voter fraud in West Virginia. For today’s fact-checkers, life comes at you fast.

Mail-in voting has long been part of the Left’s wishlist, and as usual, Democrats are not letting a good crisis go to waste. One of the House Democrats’ first agenda items during the outbreak of the coronavirus was a push for nationwide voting by mail.

Obviously, with the 2020 election just months away, people are concerned with how the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic might affect the polls in November. But the fact-checkers are wrong. Nationwide voting by mail in lieu of in-person voting is a major risk to election security. Let’s stop repeating the Left's talking point that voter fraud, particularly by mail, doesn’t exist. The recent West Virginia case shows just how vulnerable voting by mail is to interference. For all the cry surrounding Russia’s 2016 interference, you would think that the media would put instances of mail-in voting fraud front and center.

The case in West Virginia is emblematic of how dangerous nationwide voting by mail could be. Even left-leaning ProPublica recently cited a well-known 2005 report that found a “bipartisan consensus that mail-in ballots are the form of voting most vulnerable to fraud.”

Already in 27 states, you are allowed to designate another individual to deliver your mail-in ballot for you. The 2018 midterms were rife with problems stemming from ballots’ chain of custody. It took days, and several resignations, before Florida’s gubernatorial results were final. Now add into the mix another link in the chain of custody when the entire country votes from home. It would be a miracle if we even knew who won the down-ballot races in Wyoming and Delaware by January. In our high-tech environment, elections should be decided on election night, not days or weeks later, as more and more ballots arrive past the deadline.

Not only is nationwide voting by mail dangerous for election security, but it fundamentally infringes upon one’s privacy at the polls. How do we account for nursing home residents who may be coerced to vote one way by their attendants? Or any other individual to pressure a voter to cast a certain ballot? The ballot box affords us the right to privacy, something we shouldn’t take for granted.

With many elections decided by a small number of votes, every vote counts and needs to be tallied accurately. Even a handful of illicit votes, whether due to mail-in ballots or illegally registered voters, are enough to sway fiercely contested congressional seats. Regardless of the risk posed by the coronavirus in the fall, do we want to stake our future on voting by mail? To succumb to the falsehoods being pushed by those who deny voter fraud in any form would put us on such a path. * Noah Wall is the vice president of advocacy at FreedomWorks.*