Democrats Bail on Their Mail-Voting Experiment

Democrats Bail on Their Mail-Voting Experiment
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Democrats Bail on Their Mail-Voting Experiment
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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It all seemed to start when Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she will be “voting early and in person,” bucking the multimillion-dollar campaign to push the 2020 presidential election to the mail, funded by her party and a constellation of nonprofit groups. She was not alone in the days that followed. Prominent Democrats from Joe Biden to the Black PAC and even the Obamas shifted stances.

Naturally, the mail-voting proponents-turned-nervous-skeptics will lash the president and the Postal Service for their conversions — but that only gets them so far. The growing mountain of evidence shows America faces inherent challenges with an emergency, bulk-mail voting experiment. That trend is not helped by legal agreements between Democratic Party attorneys and chummy state election officials. Citizens are predictably blanching at news of dropped witness requirements in Virginia; allowing mail ballot counting days after Election Day in Pennsylvania and North Carolina; and even weeks later in Michigan. Don’t even get folks started on new ballot-harvesting allowances tucked into some of these deals.

Back when America used to debate policy, conservatives were quick to scold the left for stressing systems to breaking points to justify their utopian replacement. Remember how the public option would eventually lead to single-payer health care? Leftist groups have long pined for federal expansions of mail balloting, and the pandemic delivered the ultimate unwasted crisis. In the early months of the pandemic, mail voting was touted as a logical response to safety and sanitation concerns. It was supposed to be easy, since Oregon and Washington already do it, and millions of Americans rely on behemoths like Amazon and Walmart to get essential goods from click to doorstep.

Beware the central planners short on personal experience with little regard for history. The blowback was immediately obvious.

Just as 2020 primaries started to pick up and several states adopted mass-mail systems, federal data helped set the table for the year: from 2012 to 2018, 28,000,000 mail ballots were declared “unable to be tracked” after leaving county offices; their status is officially considered “unknown.” Another 2.1 million ballots bounced off wrong addresses. More than 1.2 million ballots were rejected upon official receipt. Mail-voting apologists scoffed, saying these missing ballots were probably just in landfills. Wisconsin demonstrated recently how some ballots can get there by way of a ditch

To get rid of a lawsuit funded by the Democrats, Clark County, Nevada, agreed to send a ballot to every registered voter during the June primary, against the warnings of county employees that it would cause waste and confusion. In the aftermath, the county government disclosed to the Public Interest Legal Foundation that more than 223,000 ballots were sent to bad addresses and were returned to sender. This must have been a major point of concern for Democrats, given that more of these were intended for their voters, as opposed to the GOP. 

Novice mass-mail voting officials in New York and New Jersey put on master classes in how to induce panic. In New Jersey, a Paterson City Council election result was tossed after a judge found it was “rife with mail in vote procedural violations.” More than a month after June primaries, The Atlantic declared the “chaos in New York is a warning,” given ballots were still being counted and at least 20% were rejected. 

Rejections, above all, keep the mail-ballot hustlers awake at night. The scholarship is clear: first-time mail-ballot users are most prone to see their choices hit the discard bin. The current reject tally for 2020 sits at 550,000 — that’s nearly equal to the numbers for the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections combined.

Mass-mail balloting is proving to be a modern voter-disenfranchisement machine.

Back in June, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez touted the fun and ease of voting by mail: “Vote while your kids are yelling . . .  vote without your pants on . . . vote in your pajamas!”

The mindset of assuming convenience and safety has brought Democrats to this pivot point. It also overlooks the increased demand for manpower from an overwhelmingly aging volunteer population to process all of those ballots — let alone the necessary establishment of mass-balloting supply chains where none existed before. 

Vote in person this November. It’s an elegant solution.

Logan Churchwell is communications and research director for the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

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