Earlier today, President Donald J Trump tweeted about delaying the 2020 presidential. His tweet states that “universal, mail-in voting [in 2020] will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history.” He then suggests that the election be delayed until American people can “properly, securely, and safely vote.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump is already facing criticism from this recent tweet. New Mexico Senator Tom Udall stated that President Trump can’t delay the election. He called upon members of Congress and the Trump administration to speak up against this. Others argue that there is no evidence to support the President’s claims of fraud in mail-in voting. Some point out that the President cannot legally change the voting date without the approval of Congress.
Problems of Mail-in Voting
However, Trump’s concerns about mail in voting are not without legitimate reasons. In 2005, a Federal commission led by Jimmy Carter concluded that mail-in ballots “remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.” In 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that approximately 24 million voter registrations are no longer valid or contain inaccurate information. This number represents about 1 in 8 voter registrations. 1 in 8 inaccurate voter registrations isn’t a small problem; it represents a clear threat to the democracy of elections. At the very least, these conclusions and stats highlight some of the biggest issues that mail in voting faces.
Mail-in voting presents many logistical nightmares as well. Proponents of mail- in voting state that some states already conduct mail- in voting. They argue extending it wouldn’t be problematic. Only five states have historically conducted all elections by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. These states are relatively lower in population compared to many other states. Extending mail- in voting to every state in the US, particularly more populated states, presents huge logistical problems. These include accurate counting and long delays, to name just a few. For example, New York recently implemented mail- in voting for the Democratic primaries in June. Yet, the state faces significant delays in counting votes. In fact, the results are still not known.
In short, mail- in voting works for some smaller states but it is very difficult to implement it in many others. Chris Stewart, a Republican Congressman from Utah, perhaps said it best. He stated “In my state in Utah, for example, we’ve been doing it [mail in voting] for quite a while, but we’re a small state with a relatively small population. It’s harder to do on a national scale.”