“Should I trust mailing in my ballot?” “I mailed my ballot. How can I be sure it got counted?”
I get asked these and other similar questions on a weekly basis. When people ask me about voting, I am careful not to give my opinion, unless they specifically ask for it. Until recently, I would always frame my response around absentee voting’s long history and acceptance in both political parties. For instance, did you know in 1997 Texas passed a law allowing astronauts who cannot vote in person and are unable to vote via absentee ballot because they are aboard the International Space Station, to cast their ballots electronically, via email, from orbit?
In June, I had an opportunity to interview nationally renowned investigative journalist Greg Palast on his latest book, How Trump Stole 2020. By the end of the interview, I realized what I thought I knew about voting by mail could not fill a teacup. Since then, I’ve been doing some fact-finding. Here are the results:
According to direct-mail experts 4% to 20% of any mailing will not reach its destination.
Based on details from a Postal Service audit, the Postal Service has missed its own goals for First Class mail delivery for 5 years running, with about 20% of mail failing to arrive after 5 days.
State have different rules regarding the deadline for accepting ballots. In Florida, the ballot has the be in the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. In other states, a mail-in ballot will be accepted as long as it has a postal mark on or before November 3rd.
According to the US Election Assistance Commission 512,696 mail-in ballots (over half a million) were rejected. In other words, they were never counted. Due to the number of voters voting by mail-in for the first time, the number of rejected ballots is expected to rise significantly.
In 2016, 99% of all mail-in-votes that arrived were counted. Keep in mind a late vote is a dead vote and dead votes don’t count. Every vote is a person and every vote should count.
In 2016, approximately 8 million mail-in-ballots were sent out but never returned, late or otherwise.
In the March 17th Presidential Primary Election in Broward, of the approximately 199,00 ballots that were mailed, only 96,341 (48%) were received before the 7 P.M. deadline and counted.
The Postal Service is making NO PROMISES. In fact, it is telling Americans it “cannot guarantee” that your ballot will arrive on any particular date.
Last, but definitely not least, The Postal Service is also telling Americans to give every ballot 14 days round trip. That means if you want to vote by mail, and you want to feel good about your vote a chance at being counted, Election Day is not November 3, it is Tuesday, October 20th.
Let me know what you think. Email me at email@example.com. As always stay tuned to the Westside Gazette for more information about your vote.