In the midst of a pandemic, one way to prevent large gatherings and potential infections would be to mail a ballot to all voters with pre-paid postage. It works in all the places it’s done, and claims that it would lead to fraud are just plain irrational.
So why are conservatives fighting it so hard right now? Because if more people are allowed to vote, it doesn’t bode well for Republicans. As Donald Trump has admitted, if we made voting easier, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Their aim is to suppress the vote as much as possible, especially in ways that disproportionately affect communities of color.
Tony Perkins of the conservative Christian group Family Research Council has an even more outlandish reasons voting-by-mail should be abandoned. True to form as a professional liar, he insists “28.3 million mail-in ballots… have gone missing since 2012,” claiming those are “28 Million Reasons Not to Trust a Mail-in Election.”
Perkins explained in his “Washington Update” column:
When a federal elections commission started asking questions, not one person had any explanation for the 28.3 million mail-in ballots that have gone missing since 2012. As far as they’re concerned, one in five absentee votes just vanished. No one knows if it’s fraud, system failure, general ineptitude, or a combination of all three. What we do know is that Democrats want us to trust this same process — on a national scale — this November. Thank you, but no thank you.
But Kristen Doerer of Right Wing Watch explains why that’s completely misleading:
Contrary to Perkins’ claim that no one knows what happened to those ballots that [conservative activist group Public Interest Legal Foundation] claimed were “missing,” the Washington Monthly reported that the organization included those in which they knew just what happened. PILF itself notes that some ballots never arrived at their intended addresses, which could be due to outdated addresses; some were never returned, including those who simply decided not to vote; and others were rejected, often as a result of signature match errors. PILF’s inclusion of ballots from the last category, the Washington Monthly notes, is ironic, because checking signatures against voter registration rolls is an election security measure for voting by mail. And while Adams suggests that his group’s report shows there were 28 million opportunities for fraud, even Mark Hemingway, a writer Perkins cites, notes that “there is no evidence that the millions of missing ballots were used fraudulently.”
Even by the Heritage Foundation’s own numbers, over the past 20 years, there have been only 143 criminal convictions of fraud with mailed ballots. And that’s out of the roughly 250 million votes that have been cast by mail nationally over the same time period.
In other words, despite what Perkins is saying, this isn’t some scheme to “take away the integrity of our elections.” That’s what the Electoral College is for. Voting by mail works. And when we’re all still supposed to self-quarantine, it’s the best way to conduct elections in November.