With the general election occurring in less than a month, I cannot help but to entertain a few concerns of mine. I am worried for the potential voter turnout among my generation. I am aware that my age group is one of many conspiracy theorists. With all sorts of crazy information circulating, I believe a need for clarity is in order.
If you follow politics, or have been paying even minimal attention, you may have heard some wild rumors regarding voting by mail and the election in general. The validity of voting processes has especially been questioned within the last couple of months. Therefore, I would like to use my small, yet present platform to shed some light on the situation for my Z’s and Millennials.
I have heard several people, especially Mr. Trump, accuse absentee ballots to be faulty. They are concerned that the ballots will not count, and if they do, are subject to fraudulence. So, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Voting by mail is a practice that has been used for decades. It began during the Civil War, when it was made accessible on the battlefields of fourteen states. Soldiers were allowed to mail their ballots to their hometowns. Over the years, absentee ballots grew in utilization. In the 2020 election, during a global pandemic, mail-in voter turnout is expected to grow to an all-time high.
The process gets ballots to registered voters with less effort, and therefore increases voter turnout. In the primary election, occurring earlier this year, four out of five states with the highest improvement in voter turnout mailed ballots to all registered voters. There is reason to believe this may frighten a certain, orange candidate.
I won’t sugar coat it—the Trump Administration is using the USPS as a vehicle for voter suppression, which is a ploy to influence the outcome of an election through the means of discouraging specific groups from voting. Why would I write such a thing? I’ll tell you, and you can draw your own conclusions.
In June, Trump appointed Louis DeJoy as the Postmaster General. He began making changes: cutting back on overtime for mail carriers and ordering the removal of dozens of high-speed mail sorting machines. Officials started to remove street mailboxes, claiming they were no longer being used. These cuts negatively affected the rate that people received their mail. As many citizens rely on the USPS for essential services, apprehension arose.
DeJoy released an official statement regarding public concern. Essentially, he ensured the safety of the USPS, and that changes were minuscule. Determined to “avoid the appearance of any impact on election mail”, he promised to suspend the actions, included in the previous paragraph, until after the general election. Still skeptical? Check it out for yourself:
In reality, the USPS has been losing funding for years. Is it a coincidence that issues have transpired right before the election?
In six states: Washington, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado, ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters. In thirty-four, which includes basically every swing-state, absentee ballots can be requested for any reason. The remaining states require specific excuses. In short, mail-in voting is fairly accessible.
Trump asserts that absentee voting can, and will, result in fraud, and that votes will not be counted. He even encouraged his supporters to test it themselves, to vote by mail and in person. It is illegal to vote twice in the same election—and a felony in most states.
Voting by mail is a secure and necessary method for many constituents during this pandemic. The Heritage Foundation has found only 143 criminal convictions for mail-in ballot fraud over the last 20 years. To get technical, that is a mere .000006% of total votes cast. There have also been isolated occurrences of fraud from in-person voting over the years, by both the Democratic and Republican party.
Trump has even voted by mail before! According to the Washington Post, Trump, Melania, and Pence, among thirteen other members of the Trump Administration, have participated in absentee voting. Yes, “mail-in vote” and “absentee ballot” are interchangeable terms.
I think Trump’s stratagem is transparent. I might also be worried if there were a decent candidate with the potential to seize my second term. (Extra emphasis on “decent”.)
The only thing to fear about voting by mail is doing it wrong. If a constituent fails to turn their ballot in on time, it can be rejected. If you plan on participating in this process, request the ballot early and send it back early, too! I urge you to research specific dates and deadlines pertaining to your state. Be sure to sign them neatly and fill them out carefully. Ballots can be rejected if there is even a slight difference in signatures.
Although mail-in ballots may be the most practical choice for this election, voting in person is still of equal importance. I encourage my readers to consider volunteering at polling stations, so that we can ensure they remain open and available.
Voter suppression is prevalent, but I believe it will only embolden this generation to participate. After all, we love doing exactly what authority tells us not to…
Remember, if our votes did not matter, voter suppression would be nonexistent. Register to vote (it takes two minutes) and show up, or hit the mailboxes on time, for the general election on November 3rd!
Voter registration and Absentee Ballot Request Form: https://election.org/type-of-voting/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwwOz6BRCgARIsAKEG4FUhgYRrMjSNPmBl3AxnH5tUI62Lvbj14Ct4-pBNM4HCBC4VJGNHnNgaAg5QEALw_wcB