President Trump has warned for months about the risk of voter fraud if widespread mail-in voting is used for the November 3rd election. While Democrats have pushed for mail-in voting and absentee voting in lieu of the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans, led by Trump, have noted the unprecedented use of this method on a wide scale will lead to election chaos. Why the media has said there is no merit for such a warning, there have already been alarming examples of this possibility.
The New York Board of Elections mailed out half a million absentee ballots already, and the problems are glaring. In a report from the Gothamist, a New York publication, multiple voters have said they received “official absentee ballot envelopes” that were mislabeled. Voters said the envelopes had the wrong name and addresses printed on them. That means that if the voter filled out the ballot and put it back in the envelope with their signature, the vote would not be counted.
The Board of Elections is trying to remedy the problem, but there may not be time before election day. They were made aware of the mistake on Saturday, and said it was a problem from the vendor, Phoenix Graphics. The BOE told Gothamist, “We will ensure on behalf of the voters in Brooklyn that the proper ballots and ballot envelopes are in the hands of the voters in advance of Election Day so they can vote. This problem will get corrected.”
The problem, however, is that the BOE doesn’t know how many mistakes were made. If the BOE does not fix the problem, half a million voters could be unable to vote.
Why this matters: America’s democracy is built on a sacred trust in the voting process. While Democrats have pushed the idea of absentee ballots and mail-in voting, there are already huge glitches in the system. Ballots sent out with mistakes on such a wide scale will almost be impossible to correct by election day. It also means that there is a potential for voters to send in the wrong ballot anyway, and therefore, lose their vote altogether.