In the latest move of his quest to ensure election integrity, President Donald Trump released a statement on the America First Policy Institute’s report titled “The Case Against Mass Mail-In Ballots.” Trump has consistently criticized the practice of mail-in voting before and after the 2020 presidential election.
Trump published the statement following the AFPI’s report highlighting the various reasons behind why mail-in voting should not be practiced.
According to the AFPI report, mail-in voting has been practiced for decades. However, voters were required to have a valid reason to not vote in person. Therefore, most mail-in ballots were sent by U.S. service members overseas and Americans with disabilities that could not physically go to the polls.
However, several states began mail-in voting for convenience purposes. Oregon implemented a “no excuse needed” mail-in model that sent every voter a ballot by default, regardless of whether or not they planned to vote in person.
Now, eight states – California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington conduct universal mail-in elections. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this legislation just days after surviving the recall against him in September.
According to the report, election law requires local and state officials to verify a voter’s eligibility before mailing them an absentee ballot. Moreover, voters must request to vote absentee in order for a ballot to be sent to them. Those who apply to vote absentee must also provide proof of identification.
The America First Policy Institute’s Center for Election Integrity noted that the absentee election rules were swiftly changed shortly before the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania under the guise of Covid-19.
In these three states, every individual on a voter roll, regardless of whether they requested a ballot or not, received a live ballot through the United States Postal Service. Ballots were to be dropped off in drop boxes, which typically had little to no security presence. Thus, all obstacles to prevent illegally cast election ballots were stripped.
According to the report, drop boxes present a vast array of problems with regards to election integrity and geographical discrimination, particularly in Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Each of the three states failed to update their voter rolls, which could have prompted people to vote more than once if they were sent a former resident’s ballot by mistake, whether the former resident had moved or been deceased, making it nearly impossible to verify the legality of those ballots.
Furthermore, drop boxes were often vandalized and set on fire across the country due to their vacant security measures.
The report argued that drop boxes provide an unfair advantage for voters in rural areas. For instance, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, a majority liberal area, had one drop box for every 4,000 voters. The 59 rural counties won by Donald Trump in 2020 had one drop box for every 72,000 voters, thus being vastly more inconvenient for rural conservatives to vote.
The U.S. Congress is attempting to make wide spread no-excuse mail-in voting a reality, as it has endorsed and pushed the For the People Act, which would mandate mail-in voting across the entire country. However, Republicans have pushed back against the proposed legislation, noting the potential for ballot fraud.
According to the AFPI, local and state officials should verify ballots before they counting them prior to election day. Officials should confirm that the signatures on the ballots match the signatures on the envelopes. They continued, noting that states should have voter oversight to ensure that ballots do not get lost in the mail.
To add safeguards for mail in ballots, the organization believes states should implement a ballot tracking application so that voters can track their ballot. The article also stressed that states should not send ballots to residents that did not request ballots as a way to prevent people from voting multiple times under different identities.