Nov. 3, 2020
By Bartosz Balbuza
For the first time ever, all active, registered voters in New Jersey received a mail-in ballot to vote in the November 2020 election. The mail-in ballot contains the ballot itself, a security envelope and a postage envelope.
After filling out the ballot, one must place it into the secure envelope that is provided and seal it. The outside of that envelope gets signed by the voter and anyone who may have assisted them, and it is placed into the postage envelope to be mailed or dropped off at a ballot drop box or polling place. The postage envelope is expedited and tracked in the postal system to make sure every ballot makes it to a polling station securely, where all identifying information is separated and the ballot is cast and counted.
This process has many security checks and safeguards. The security envelopes are signed, much like signing in-person to vote in states that do not require voter identification. This signature is matched with voter registration records to ensure the voter is who they say they are. Also, ballots cannot be dropped off by other people without explicitly signing off on it, and bearers are limited to dropping off three ballots per election. This is to prevent mass drop-offs that might be fraudulent.
In Paterson, a special election was held on May 12 which was done primarily through mail-in ballots. Of the ballots received, 3,190 ballots were rejected, and four people were charged with voter fraud. This is evidence that the safeguards and security checks that are in place actually work and are prompt in catching voter fraud.
Mail-in ballots make voting more accessible, which is a good thing for democracy. Not only should mail-in voting be used in this election but it should become the norm in future elections as well.
Absentee ballots have been part of American elections for a very long time. They have been used by those who are not currently in their home state and by those who have a valid reason for not being able to vote in person. The United States also has a solid postal system that delivers mail pertaining to taxes and bills. This proves that this country has the infrastructure and ability to handle mail-in ballots.
In a year where voting in person can be dangerous, 43 states are utilizing no-excuse mail-in voting for the presidential election. Obviously, now, there is a real danger associated with crowded indoor spaces because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mailing in ballots greatly reduces the possibility of contact and is likely to save lives.
Mail-in ballots make voting more accessible, which is a good thing for democracy. Not only should mail-in voting be used in this election but it should become the norm in future elections as well. Some people have jobs that make it difficult or impossible for them to show up to the polls on Election Day, and not every state requires employers to give employees time off to vote, so voting can be a matter of losing a job. States including Georgia and Texas have also reduced the number of polling stations, which forces people to travel long distances to vote or wait six or more hours on a line.
Mail-in ballots allow every registered voter a chance to vote, a right which the Constitution guarantees all adult citizens.