Mail-in voting seems to be all the rage these days. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mail-in voting had been on the rise. In the 2018 election, 26 percent of votes were cast by mail and according to the U.S. News, “just over half of voters went to the polls in person on Election Day in 2018, compared to nearly 90 percent in 1998.” While the concept of mail-in voting is definitely not new to Americans, the issues the United States Postal Service is experiencing are concerning to say the least. As Americans are planning to practice their civic duty this year, many are worried that their ballot will be lost in the mail or invalidated.
With COVID-19 guidelines and procedures, it seems like the best option for most is to stay home and cast their votes from the safety of the couch. The U.S. News mentions that states like California and Michigan are working to make voting as safe as possible, whereas states like Texas just recently ruled their mail-in voting procedure as unconstitutional. California has changed its voting rules and procedures to have all registered voters automatically receive a mail-in ballot, the same recently announced for Michigan as well. According to the U.S. News, the change in voting procedures in Michigan, “prompted President Donald Trump to threaten to ‘hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path’ in a tweet.”
The Trump Administration seems to be concerned with vote counting and validity. CNN reports that “President Trump’s campaign team is bombarding local election officials in swing states, digging for details on vote-counting and gearing up for a potential legal fight over mail-in ballots.” No details will be overlooked; Wisconsin and Georgia are already being sent questionnaires from the Trump Administration inquiring about the process for mail-in voting. According to CNN President Trump is asking, “how ballots will be verified, how staffers will be deployed and even what the envelopes housing ballots will look like, according to multiple sources and documents.”
While these are all important aspects to keep in mind when working to make mail-in voting fair, the intentions of the Trump Administration are up for question in some states. Almost 2,000 municipal clerks in the state of Wisconsin said that they “received a document in recent weeks that state officials said looked at first glance like a public records request, but that was actually a document from the Trump Victory team seeking data.” This is according to Reid Magney, who is spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission. County officials in Georgia say they “received a 59-question document from the President’s reelection team.” CNN obtained the list of questions, one of which asked, “if there’s a way to tell if a ballot was sent by a Democrat or Republican.” This definitely raises a red flag. If President Trump wants to make sure there is no fraudulent interference with voting, why does it matter if the ballot was sent by a Democrat or a Republican?
Nov. 3 is right around the corner, and there are many resources available for voters to check if they are registered and find where to request a mail-in ballot. Ride sharing companies have been known in the past to offer free rides to go vote in person, so transportation will not be a determining factor if someone gets to vote or not. Regardless of if it is in person or by mail, make sure you practice your civic duty this November.