Voting is officially underway for the 2020 general election across the country. In states like Pennsylvania, there is concern about how recent changes to state law will affect the election, especially when considering the numerous problems that happened during the primary earlier this year. In both the District of Columbia and in New York City, voting already seems to be just as fraught with issues as it was during the primaries.
Earlier this week, the District of Columbia began sending out mail-in ballots as part of their universal vote-by-mail system. The potential for fraud is already on full display. Many residents are reporting that they have received ballots for individuals who no longer live at their address.
Dear DC Board of Elections:— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) October 1, 2020
You mailed this “absentee ballot” to my home.
While I never knew this former resident, I know she’s very absent.
She’s been dead for 7 years.
Concerned Voter pic.twitter.com/dNQJ5oRR6s
I don’t know who Ernest is, but I received his ballot. Mine, meanwhile, has not arrived. By the way, 1827 is not my house number. pic.twitter.com/lG197RXkLQ— Ethan Barton (@ethanrbarton) September 30, 2020
In New York City, some voters will have to receive new ballots after printing errors rendered the ballots already sent to voters in Brooklyn unusable. As reported by the Washington Post:
Officials in New York will send out new absentee ballots after about 100,000 voters in Brooklyn were sent return envelopes with wrong information, an error officials attributed to the vendor.
The error was limited to voters in the one borough, the New York City Board of Elections’ executive director, Michael Ryan, said during a public meeting Tuesday. The board received complaints from voters who received “absentee ballots with the proper ballot but the improper oath envelope,” he said, referring to an inner return envelope with the voter’s information that must be signed before voters return their ballots.
Ryan said the vendor, Phoenix Graphics, will reprint the ballot packages, which will be mailed out to all the potentially affected voters “to make certain that absolutely no disenfranchisement occurs in the borough of Brooklyn.” He said the vendor will bear the cost of the reprint and redistribution.
Linda Kerns, a lawyer and contributor for the Lawyers Democracy Fund, is concerned about recent expansions to vote-by-mail in Pennsylvania. The state's Supreme Court recently extended the deadline for mail-in ballots past Election Day. The expansion comes as the state experienced mail ballot problems during its June primary, which led to 37,000 ballots being rejected due to procedural errors. Kerns also notes that it may be impossible for voters who request a ballot right before the deadline to return it in time for it to be counted.
A vote must be received to be counted. Election administrators receive ballots cast in person — whether on a machine in a polling place or filled out and hand delivered to an election office — before the end of Election Day. Mailed ballots, however, add an element of uncertainty, and previously our law said either it gets there by Election Day or it is not counted.
Voters are paying attention to the problems with voting around the country as a result of dangerous attempts by Democrats to expand mail voting without maintaining necessary safeguards. As a result, fewer voters are expected to vote by mail for this election than originally expected.