Nov. 3, 2020
By Prires Sahiti
With the difficult events of this year, many have come to realize that this presidential election is far more important than any other in recent history. With Covid-19 and police brutality against African Americans dominating the headlines this year, the people are looking for a leader.
Whether you believe the current president is still right for the job or if you believe there needs to be a change in leadership, everyone should agree that all eligible voters should vote. Due to Covid-19, though, voting in person could mean contracting the virus and facing the possibility of death. Therefore, in New Jersey, mail-in ballots were sent out to all registered voters. In fact, for the first time ever, most New Jersey voters are expected to vote by mail-in ballot.
Mail-in ballots are supposed to help voters. They were sent out so people could vote comfortably from home and not have to worry about catching the deadly virus. However, mail-in ballots have a lot of flaws, and in order to have a fair election, they should not become the norm.
Mail-in ballots make it easier for there to be a rigged election. The fact that any mail carrier could just throw these ballots out has caused many to wonder how safe their vote really is, and rightfully so. Last month, ballots sent to residents of West Orange and Orange were recovered from dumpsters in West Orange and North Arlington. One postal worker was arrested in connection with the incident and charged with one count of delay, secretion or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail. This example exposes the flaws of voting by mail-in ballot.
It is also likely that young and first-time voters will fill out their ballots together with family and feel pressured or coerced to vote in alignment with their parents’ political beliefs.
Another issue with this system of voting is that people living in the same home could steal each other’s ballots. It is not uncommon in this country for people in the same household to hold different political beliefs. With mail-in ballots, there is no guarantee that one person would not turn in the ballots for the whole family or all of the residents in the home. It is also likely that young and first-time voters will fill out their ballots together with family and feel pressured or coerced to vote in alignment with their parents’ political beliefs.
Lastly, mail-in ballots take away from the voting experience. Voting is a right afforded to U.S. citizens over the age of 18. It is something that American adults look forward to doing. Many have seen their parents vote for years, and when they come of age, they want a say in what is going on in their country too. The tradition of going to the polls and waiting in line means a lot more than just sending in a ballot through the mail. Voting in person is especially important for those who have doubts that their ballots will even be counted.
For a lot of voters, this month’s election does not even feel real because of the mail-in ballots. If you have Covid-19, have reason to believe you were exposed to someone with the virus or are in contact with an elderly person or someone else in a high-risk category, you probably should avoid the polls this year. Otherwise, though, it’s best to cast your ballot in person.