A joke that constantly gets recycled on social media these days is “wow, I didn’t know how many of my friends were experts in *insert subject field*”, and with good reason. It is shocking how often people post definitive, end-of-discussion statements on social media, with little to no understanding or expertise of the matter at hand. The latest “I know this to be true” in the zeitgeist is that vote by mail absolutely works and HAS to be implemented for the fall presidential election. Mostly, I am sure, because Donald Trump has called it a bad thing, and anything he says must be opposed with swiftness, surety of mind, and minimal critical thinking of what he actually said.
Now it’s my turn to make a statement that I will actually defend: vote by mail is an unmitigated disaster, and implementing it on a national scale in the fall is a fool’s errand. As reported by NPR, over 550,000 ballots in the 2020 primary season have been invalidated, representing a massive disenfranchisement of voters around the country. It took over a month for several races in New York City to be determined, and in several cases the number of votes disqualified was greater than the final margin of “victory.”
Keep in mind: all of these problems predate #SavethePostOffice and the fight for funding of the USPS. Is there any question lack of funding and nefarious machine removal will contribute to a disaster implementation of mail-in voting? Of course not. But there are ways around voting by mail that do not require your 37th tweet about how mail-in voting works so well and must be done. In fact, in 2012, the NYTimes reported flaws and fraud with mail-in ballots, and concern about how these could alter the outcome of the election (huh, they sure are humming a brand new tune now, I wonder what changed?).
Shockingly, maybe we should look at Kentucky. Their model for voting in their primary led to record turnout, an undisputed vote count and victor, and zero instances of coronavirus being spread because of in-person voting. It did include mail-in voting, but because of their excellent mechanisms and protocols set up for in-person voting, the number processed did not become overwhelming to local post offices, and they didn’t need $25 billion to do it.
So, please: stop blindly posting and echoing your friends posts about topics on social media without doing your homework. As it currently works, or doesn’t work, mail-in voting has been a massive disenfranchisement of voters all over the country. Half a million so far in 2020! Just imagine the hell we would go through of months and months of litigation, Trump tweets, outrage and yelling, if the election was mail-in exclusively. I want it to be done, and done right.