As COVID-19 forces us to rethink anything requiring human interaction, many are calling for more virus-appropriate elections by implementing mail-in ballots in states that don’t already have them.
Despite the evidence that election fraud of all kinds is incredibly rare, some in the Republican Party are arguing that mail-in ballots beget corruption. President Trump, for example, said on April 7, the day of a fraught in-person primary election in Wisconson, that “mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters.”
Republicans in Colorado have been attacking voting-by-mail as well.
In a virtual newsletter, Arapahoe County Republican Party chair Dorothy Gotlieb wrote, “At first glance, this voting method may seem appropriate – and practical, under the circumstances – it has also contributed to instances of voter fraud and ballot disqualification.”
Mail ballots have been the primary method of voting in Colorado since 2013, and a quarter of all voters in the last two federal elections cast a mail ballot. While there are, of course, some very rare instances of voter fraud, fraud rates have not increased as mail ballots have become more ubiquitous.
Gotlieb went on to allege, without evidence, that Democratic campaign workers “have gone to ‘assisted living’ facilities, and ‘helped’ unsuspecting or incapacitated residents mark their ballots (but not for R’s…).”
“Although the law allows one person to deposit up to ten ballots, per drop-off location, there has been nothing stopping the collection of many more ballots, and the depositing of them at multiple locations,” she continued. “There has also been nothing stopping the ‘ballot-collectors’ from looking inside the envelopes, and changing votes (which would nullify the ballots) – or dumping ballots with votes they don’t like.”
The Douglas County Republican Party is also attacking mail-in ballots, sharing a meme to its Facebook page this week alleging that Democrats are supporting social distancing and voting by mail for nefarious purposes:
“What’s so important is that we don’t put the voters [in the position of] making a choice between health and exercising their right to vote,” said Peg Perl, Director of Elections for Arapahoe County. “Our system means that they don’t have to.”
Perl also stressed that numerous safeguards are in place to protect the integrity of the voting-by-mail system.
“Everything in the mail ballot process is done with bipartisan teams, whether it be at the vote center itself, transporting ballot boxes, unloading ballots to be sorted, checking signatures… you have people from two different parties who sign off and are together on every single step,” Perl said.
“Everything is also under video,” she added. “We hold onto that video surveillance. We keep that information if anything were to happen.”
She encouraged anyone with questions about how the process works to watch a recent video released by the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder’s office called “The Life of a Mail Ballot.”
According to a recent poll, the majority of Americans, including most Republicans, want mail ballots to be required November election if coronavirus still poses a threat.