The Next Political Crisis- Mail In Voting

To 2020 presidential election is revving up in a number of controversial ways. Trump is already saying that Democrats are trying to rig the process, and that it will take days and even weeks to tabulate the results if voters widely use mail in ballots.

As expected, both political parties are trying to do things that improve their chances to win the presidency. Supposedly, Democrats are trying to do whatever is possible to increase turn out, while Republicans are conspiring to establish roadblocks that will decrease voter turnout, especially if voter fraud is evident.

Unfortunately, both parties are not doing apolitical things and saying things that encourage every American to vote and participate in this most important civic responsibility. The pandemic adds another element to the process, that being the safety of voters and all the volunteers who contribute to the proceedings.

The fairness of the voting process is a critical consideration. Trump has repeatedly indicated that voter fraud is prevalent even though there has not been any proof of significant malfeasance, other than Russian interference. Nevertheless, the process must be devoid of any cheating that would take the form of improper ballots and improper votes.

The latest debate has to do with the use of absentee ballots and mail in ballots. The first are ballots requested by voters that indicate that they are unable to vote on Election Day in person. The latter ballots are sent unsolicited to all eligible voters by individual states.

Three things are obvious. One is that the US Postal Service needs to be able to handle the obvious increase in mail during the time approaching the election. The second thing is that either ballot will enable Americans to avoid polling places, which are crowded during a general election. Crowds facilitate more Covid infections. The third issue deals with counting the ballots manually. It is possible the process will be delayed, and we will we won’t have a winner on Election Day, or the next day or even the next week.

These are unprecedented times. It would be unconscionable not to do whatever is feasible to avoid more virus infections. Simultaneously the process needs to be protected.

It really is shameful that all that is happening shortly before we go to the polls did not happen much sooner. You would think that our leaders would have started this process to ensure voter participation and safety months earlier.

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