Mailing It In

The US election is in two weeks from today, and the ballots are starting to roll in by the millions. President Trump has been screaming about massive fraud. But does he have credibility?

Due to the pandemic, an unprecedented number of Americans are voting by mail this year. In ordinary times, mail-in ballots are a part of elections most pay little attention to. Their numbers aren’t thought to be sufficient to influence the outcome – even when they are.

This year is different. It is not impossible to imagine a scenario when the outcome of each state is dependent on what has arrived by mail.

I understand Trump’s concerns about the possibility of increased fraud. The more variables you introduce into the voting process, the more opportunities for tampering. But looking objectively, I think the man protests too much.

Her certainly has offered no evidence to show that there could be a problem with mail-in ballots. Where were his concerns in 2016, when more than 33 million Americans voted by mail? Oh, wait, he won that one.

Mail-in voting is less than ideal. I can see potential problems with ensuring the ballot is actually filled out by a registered voter. But that is a minor, individual fraud. Turning that into something organized or widespread would require more talent than most political operatives have.

My concern would be more with the ability of the postal service to deliver the ballots on time (and for voters to post them on time). The mail service doesn’t seem to me to be what it once was. Depending on how much leeway election officials allow, it could be weeks before everything is counted.

Is the system open to organized fraud? I can think of a few ways – which I am not going to record here. No point in giving anyone any ideas, even at this late stage of the campaign.

The in-person voting system also has possibilities for organized fraud. I’m not going to detail those either. Most are far-fetched, but I can see the possibilities.

I must admit that when it comes to casting ballots, I like the system we use in Canada. Most voting is done in person. The voter carries identification. Each poll has two clerks who oversee the vote and the count. And the political parties have representatives at the count. They can’t touch the ballots, but they can see them, and ask questions (and report) if something seems irregular.

It is a people-intensive system. But nobody questions its integrity. The various American voting systems I have read about don’t seem as good.

Despite low polling numbers, I won’t be surprised to see Donald Trump re-elected. The Republican Party has in the past excelled at getting their supporters out to vote.

Perhaps Trump’s fear about mail-in voting is that all those voters will be voting against him. It may not be fraud he fears, but democracy.

3 comments

  1. I wonder. The attacks on Trump for being too blase about CoVid may make people think ‘Trump is bad because he mishandled CoVid’ That, in turn, is based on CoVid being scary. And, if the Democrats who think Trump mishandled Covid feel threatened by Covid…they may not vote. Meanwhile Trump is saying ‘nothing to worry about Covid…I got through it” So, his supporters may be more likely to go and vote because they haven’t been worried about CoVid as much as the opponents’ side.

  2. I’ve long wondered how much of his howling is an admission of his own guilt. You know, the old cry, “But everybody does it,” when the culprit gets caught.
    Or is that too cynical?

    1. I don’t think he has the smarts to do anything nefarious himself. The people who do should be smart enough not to tell him anything.

      In politics deniability is important – but I don’t need to tell you that, not with your experience.

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