Adapted from Tredyffrin Township Democrats, with permission
Is Vote-By-Mail (VBM) less secure than in-person voting?
In a word, no. Read on to find out why.
Are fraudulent votes more likely with VBM?
No. The VBM process is governed by the very same checks and balances that apply to voting in person.
• You must be a registered voter to get a VBM (Vote by Mail) ballot. Voters provide proof of citizenship when they register.
• You must provide either a driver’s license or social security number when applying. The system will not allow multiple uses of a driver’s license or SSN.
• The list of names and addresses of voters who apply is a public record. The party committees get weekly updates of who has applied. If a precinct showed unusual activity, it would be reported to Voter Services and investigated.
• The voter signs the secrecy envelope when returning the ballot. This signature is checked at Voter Services, just as the voter’s signature is checked in-person if they vote at a poll.
• The list of all absentee and VBM voters is posted at the polling location. Committee People check these lists. Any citizen could also check names and addresses that appear on the list.
How Does Voting By Mail Compare to In-Person Voting?
• First: It is on paper. It cannot be hacked by someone here or abroad.
• Second: It is on paper. It can be recounted and ballots examined.
• Mail-based voting systems today are far less risky than many polling place elections, precisely because they distribute ballots (and electoral risk) in such a decentralized way. To have any reasonable chance of success, an organized effort to defraud a mail-based system and its safeguards must involve hundreds (if not thousands) of separate acts, all of them individual felonies, that must both occur and go undetected to have any chance of success.
• Contrast that to the risks inherent in polling place elections that increasingly rely on direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting systems and proprietary software systems that both record and tally votes. A single successful software hack potentially could affect thousands of votes.
What Are Other Advantages of Voting by Mail?
• Less expensive. Taxpayers do not need to pay so many of poll workers. No shipping equipment out to multiple locations.
• No problem with accessibility to polling locations. Provisions do need to be made for visual and other disabilities, which may cause problems in filling out a paper ballot.
• No lines. No waiting. No taking time off from work. No shortage of parking.
• No exposure to coronavirus or other illness.
• If a voter starts filling out a ballot and does not have sufficient info about candidates, they have time to do research.
• No voter is disenfranchised due to a sick child or parent. Unexpected trips for work or last-minute emergencies do not stop anyone from voting.
• More people vote. Turnout is higher.