Politics

How Can We Ensure Our Vote is Counted?

How to Vote Safely Amid Covid-19 and Mail Fraud Fears

By: Jennifer Spadafora

Mail-in voting has a longstanding history in the United States of America. Credit: wbur.org

Absentee voting was introduced in the 1800’s and primarily used for soldiers who were fighting out of their home state in the Civil War. Service personnel still use this method while occupying other countries and states on Election Day. 

Regardless of the long-standing practice, this method of voting has come under severe fire recently as it pertains to voting during the 2020 election. 

On one side we hear Republican President Donald Trump say, “If you do universal mail-ins with millions and millions of ballots, you are never going to know what the real result of an election is, it’s going to be a very, very sad day for our country,” according to Politico.

And on the left side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said “People should not have to choose between voting and preserving their good health and that of their families,” in response to the safety and effectiveness of mail-in voting as mentioned in The Hill

How do we, their constituents, decide who is right? Most Americans tow their party line and blindly believe what the leaders of their party say. 

Recently, Medium has posted an article citing this same train of thought, offering the analogy that political parties are resembling our favorite sports teams, more so than leaders of the “free world.”

We no longer root for fairness and instead stay fiercely loyal to our party, even when they make awful plays. 

Thankfully there are nuances between the two types of mail-in voting systems that will allow us to think for ourselves and cast our votes how we see fit, as individuals. 

While absentee ballots have been a normal practice in our country, universal mail-in voting is not quite that. That small difference lies in how you receive your ballot. 

With absentee voting, you need to request a ballot to be sent to your home, and you can do so here. Some states even require you to have a valid reason when applying for an absentee ballot, such as medical or travel. 

On the contrary, the hot-topic is focused on universal mail-in voting, where a ballot is automatically sent to every registered voter. New Jersey made the call last month to do this, thus creating a hybrid voting system where concerned citizens can still vote in person. 

Five other states already use universal mail-in voting. Here, nothing is requested, nor are there any reasons needed to obtain a ballot. The only criteria to get a ballot would be to register to vote. 

The appeal comes from a large population that cannot make standard voting times, causing voter suppression. Polls are open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm in New York. 

Given the current pandemic, the allurement does not begin and end with convenience. Health risks are also a factor this year that we simply did not pay attention to in prior years. 

While NY has seen a sharp decrease in Covid-19 numbers, they are expected to surge again amid winter colds and flu season. The ability to vote in this crucial election from the safety of your home, and on your own time, has excited as many as it has worried. 

The idea behind the resistance is that the same federal government that sent over $1 billion in stimulus checks to people who are deceased should not oversee sending out ballots to every registered voter. 

Voter fraud is real, and it does happen. This week, Secretary of the State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, claimed that 1,000 Georgians voted twice. 

Can people be trusted not to vote multiple times? How many people will not get their ballots at all, and how many households will get more than they need? 

How up to date are the lists they will be working from? Has everyone who moved changed their address on their voting registration? You can do so here, by the way. 

In addition to how a ballot is obtained, either by request or sent automatically, is the concerning fact that the letter carrier’s union is not a neutral party. It has publicly endorsed Joe Biden. 

While the polls seem to indicate that the union is part of the majority, it does pose the question on whether they can be trusted to deliver a fair election. 

2020 has been a year where people of all walks of life have rallied against the bad seeds in power: the police, the politicians, and the corporate elite have all seen an increase in push back. 

Why now would we trust that there are not bad seeds in the postal union? Those who seek fair and just outcomes cannot only seek it when it benefits their party. 

Much like the sports team analogy mentioned in the Medium, the country needs to move away from the winning and losing mentality when it comes to politics and refocus on fairness and balance from their own party, as well as their opposition. 

However, there are more than two ways to vote. The third option is to deliver your ballot directly to your election office. 

This can be done safely while social distancing using a drop box, and you can be sure your ballot has made it to the appropriate place. 

It requires no waiting in line, no crowds, and offers relief from possible mail fraud, loss, and communal diseases. You can find the closest election office to drop your absentee ballot off here.

 

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