Opinion: Mail-in Voting Challenges Ballot Legitimacy

Yeary writes about the disadvantages of mail-in voting and its effects on the election.

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Yeary writes about the disadvantages of mail-in voting and its effects on the election.

Sembree Yeary, Personality Editor

The 2020 presidential election expanded the use of mail-in voting: mail-in ballots. The government offered a new form ballots, to vote through mail without the hurdle of requesting a ballot and every registered voter in a universal vote-by-mail state had a ballot sent to them. The new procedure offered individuals at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 would have an opportunity to vote in the election, however the proactive gesture caused great election distress as officials attempted to count the ballots that came in days after Election Day. Voting should take place in-person to ensure the most legitimate election possible and protect the democratic process. 

After much scrutiny over the mail-in ballots, the legality and legitimacy is in question and will be tried in the courts. Mail-in votes made the country more vulnerable to fraud and lost ballots. These votes prolonged the election results because of the amount of time required to count them. Mail-in ballots do not require authorization of the voter and allowed people to submit fake ballots, and this increased the potential for stolen ballots and ballots deemed ineligible in the count.

While the wide availability of mail-in voting helped individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 and those unable to stand in line amongst others, voters not at a high risk abused the privilege of mail-in ballots. In recent months, more people ventured out of their homes into public places. If restaurants and schools can reopen, then Americans should also prioritize attending the polls and casting ballots in person.

While the election occurred in the middle of a pandemic, obstacles arose for in-person voting. The government created the solution of mail-in ballots to increase participation while social distancing. While the concept of mail-in ballots had benefits, it brought a number of other problems along with it. Because of the high-stakes election, higher security of the ballots and a better opportunity for voter participation in a more reliable way was needed.

This election served as a major event in history and deserved higher participation from in-person voters. Ballots cast in-person would help minimize the threat of fraudulent voting and lost ballots. Overall, voting reform should take place in the country and refocus our efforts on the importance of ballot legitimacy to ensure the benefit for the democratic-republic.