Add another debacle to the list of problems the pandemic has caused: mail-in voting. The pandemic is still in full effect while a polarizing election is taking place. Since so many people are stuck at home, mail-in voting would be the most logical option. President Donald Trump begs to differ. Trump has been quite vocal about his opposition towards mail-in voting. He said, “Universal mail-in voting is going to be catastrophic; it’s going to make our country the laughing stock of the world,” according to BBC. He is pushing the narrative that mail-in voting will allow people to tamper with ballots, allowing them to vote multiple times. He took his concerns to Twitter, stating, “millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others. It will be the scandal of our times!”
Of course, with Trump being so vocal about his disdain for mail-in voting, Republicans are listening. This may be a ploy to help in his campaign for re-election. Trump is doing everything in his power to try to disrupt the use of mail-in votes. He does not want to acknowledge the positive aspects of encouraging this method of voting: people being more likely to vote if all they have to do is mail in their ballot, allowing everyone to maintain social distancing, and saving money because cities will not have to put up as many polling stations. Instead, his goal is to cast doubt over the American people when deciding if they should trust mail-in votes. Currently, Democrats are applying for absentee ballots more than Republicans. According to NPR, Democrats in Florida outnumbered Republican requests for mail-in ballots by 660,000. Democrats have been showing more trust in the idea of mail-in voting. It would benefit Trump to have fewer people vote by mail because that would mean less Democrats voting.
President Trump has been clinging to many other reasons as to why the mail-in voting will be ineffective. The U.S. has been a victim of fraud when using mail-in voting. He has been harping on the fraud that occurred in North Carolina during a 2018 election, according to NPR. Leslie McCrae Dowless was arrested for tampering with absentee ballots while working for the Republican candidate Mark Harris. There is potential for voter fraud, but it is difficult for officials to not notice. The people involved, such as Dowless, are now serving time for their involvement in tampering with ballots.
President Trump is also currently involved in a lawsuit against the state of Nevada. The Trump campaign has filed this lawsuit because Nevada plans to send absentee ballots to all voters, according to CNN. He lost the state of Nevada by a narrow margin in 2016 to Hilary Clinton. The judge dismissed this case, but they still have the opportunity to appeal.
However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not found any information to support President Trump’s apprehension towards mail-in voting, according to NPR. However, they still have not ruled out the possibility of foreign interference during the election. They still expect other countries to reach out to American voters through internet propaganda. The FBI plans to monitor and maintain the legitimacy of using mail-in ballots.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a vital role in the implication of more mail-in ballots. Towards the end of July, USPS notified 46 states that there is a possibility that their ballots would not be mailed in time to be counted, according to Vox. USPS has faced blowback over its current situation during the pandemic. Vox indicates that USPS asked for a $75 billion loan from the CARES Act but only ended up getting $10 billion. They have experienced a shortage of labor due to the pandemic, and overtime for employees has been limited. This has prevented mail from reaching its destinations on time. These postal workers deserve overtime compensation because they have a crucial role in getting mail out in a timely manner. For these reasons and more, newly-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has received major criticism from the public.
DeJoy was given the difficult task of reviving the struggling USPS, and he has not received a warm welcome during the little time he has spent as the Postmaster General, in part due to his connection with President Trump. He is one of the top Trump donors, which has people wondering what his true intentions are. According to the New York Times, DeJoy has paused all new plans and changes for USPS until the election is over, which will hopefully allow ballots to be mailed in and counted on time.
With the influx of mail-in ballots, we may not get the results of the election directly on Nov. 3. This can be detrimental to Trump, as Democratic votes will most likely be counted later. There have been instances where a Republican candidate is leading in the beginning but then ends up losing once all Democratic votes are included. They can expect to get more ballots from Democrats. Pew Research Center conducted a survey indicating that only 17 percent of Republicans were willing to vote by mail, while 58 percent of Democrats were content with voting by mail. Trump’s disapproval of the mail-in ballots has struck home for most Republicans.
This is an important time for Americans to cast their votes for the upcoming Election. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so through this website. Mail-in ballots are the only viable option for most people during this pandemic. People need to put their trust in the legitimacy of mail-in voting, even though Trump will do everything in his power to make it appear that mail-in voting allowed for fraud if he loses the election.
Featured Image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus