President Donald Trump trembles at the thought of required mail-in ballots in every state this election year — and half of everyone else trembles at the thought of President Trump.
Trump’s critics say the mail-in ballots will keep people safe from COVID-19, adding that they are super-reliable and that fraud — Trump’s pronounced worry — is not a threat.
To be sure, Trump works hard to earn discredit, but his critics are slowly catching up with him. Fearful of his refusing to leave office, and themselves beset by biased twists of mind, they are now insisting that mail-in ballots are next to perfection.
But to begin with, there are 28 million refutations. That’s the number of such ballots that went poof between 2012 and 2018.
In states that used mail-in ballots exclusively and other states just sending them to people who could not make it to the polls, these ballots were mailed out and never seen again, perhaps misplaced, forgotten or eaten by a dog. According to an article in RealClearPolitics, there has also been “ballot harvesting,” in which intermediaries pick up the ballots to drop off at official sites and instead play games, changing election outcomes.
All kinds of scholarly studies have found multiple dangers reside in these ballots, and, if you do not believe in that conclusion, ask former President Jimmy Carter.
Fifteen years ago Carter was on a bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform that concluded, “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
The source here is John Lott in the Wall Street Journal, who writes about how an easily examined mail-in ballot was once a chief means of vote buying, thereby leading to the secret ballots that made the practice harder for a simple reason. Under secret balloting, someone might say, hey, here is $5 to vote for Joe Blow, but the voter could take the money and go into the curtained voting booth and vote for Bill Smith.
Lott says that while so many are going around saying there is no voter fraud, there is indeed fraud, as in the Dallas City Council finding 700 mail-in ballots all signed by a witness with a made-up name. In San Pedro, Calif., 83 ballots were sent to a small apartment, meaning either that the rent per person was tiny and sleep at night awkward or somebody was pulling a fast one.
Fraud is a definite problem, as Democrats used to say when worrying about what Russia would do in 2020, but so is counting these ballots, as in New York City. It suffered a bombardment of 400,000 absentee ballots in June primary elections, with no one yet knowing all the outcomes as city officials blame the coronavirus, each other and the post office. According to the New York Times, one goof was that officials mailed the ballots so late there was no chance of a return on time.
And then we have California, which finally rejected 100,000 mail-in ballots in the March presidential primary because of late arrivals, missing signatures or other failings avoided at voting stations because of official guidance.
The scary thought is that a national mail-in election could be a replay of the Democratic presidential primary caucuses in Iowa this past February. It took a month of recounts to confirm that somebody may have won.
Trump has no sure way of stopping the mail-in ballot movement and has come around to saying he would at least go along with absentee balloting that occurs when someone can’t get to the voting station, such as the elderly fearing COVID-19 exposure.
If he still doesn’t get re-elected, the concern may be that he will take up sumo wrestling as a way to get past federal troops guarding the Oval Office.