How Mail-In Ballots Could Impact The 2020 Election


Samantha Antil, Digital Editor

With the 2020 election on its way, political tensions seem higher than ever. Across social media, polarizing opinions tear friends and neighbors apart in an unprecedented way. Despite this, Americans have still retained the ability to vote – and regardless of what one might have felt compelled to say in the office or at the dinner table, when in the booth, they have the final say. Yet, with the growing lean toward mail-in voting, that too may be at stake.

Mail-in voting provides what many believe to be a safer alternative to in-person voting, considering the presence of the coronavirus. However, according to the Heritage Voter Fraud Database, there have been almost 1,300 proven instances of voter fraud. Admittedly, the Heritage database is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive, though it does shine a light on the very real possibility of fraud. 

The method of mail-in voting also opens the door for other, less traceable forms of tampering. On the lighter end, friends could open video calls to share and compare ballots. On a more serious note, possessive spouses could demand to see their partner’s ballot. Employers could behave similarly, with the added ability to impact their workers’ careers. Take for instance recently acquired information concerning Somali-American voters and ballot harvesting. Project Veritas, a non-profit journalism organization, discovered alleged connections between Ilhan Omar, a United States Representative, and the pressuring of elderly voters. While the story is considered controversial by some, there can be no doubt that it raises a legitimate concern.

Voting in a booth, while having the potential to spread COVID-19, remains secure in one aspect – the privacy and assurance it provides. As cautious as we can be, mail-in voting simply cannot compete with traditional voting in this respect. 

Another standing characteristic of mail-in voting is the chance it provides voters to make their decisions weeks to months in advance; while this may increase your shot of getting your ballot in and counted on time, it also closes you off from making an informed decision as new information arises. The media is quick to inform the public of gamechaning scandals, especially as we near the election – whether these scandals hold any truth, voting so far in advance renders changing one’s mind off the table. 

As we near November 3rd, voters have a lot to consider. While mail-in voting has some unavoidable consequences, it still allows an opportunity for those who may be in states of compromised health to participate in what many would call the most important election of our time. Regardless of how we decide to vote, the most important thing is that our individual voices are made heard – and that despite what side of the aisle we may fall on, we stand united to face the outcome together.