Absentee Voting vs. Universal Mail-In Voting

We must have a free and fair election in November. Universal mail-in ballots threaten that objective. Ballots are sacred. They shouldn’t be treated like pieces of junk mail going to millions of households.

Anyone who has ever worked as an election official in a polling place (precinct) knows that ballots are sacred. Election officials must account for every ballot that is brought into the precinct and every ballot that is filled out by voters. The totals of the ballots cast (even those that are filled out incorrectly and are exchanged for a fresh one) must be reconciled at the end of the day with the number provided to the precinct before the polls opened on Election Day, thereby ensuring election integrity at that precinct.

Universal mail-in voting and absentee voting are two different things. With absentee voting, the voter must request that a ballot be sent to his or her home (a simple process). Election officials verify that the request has been made by an eligible voter and then send out the requested absentee ballot. With universal mail-in voting, the Boards of Election mail a live ballot to every individual on the voter rolls. Unfortunately, many BOEs do not regularly update their voter rolls (even though they are required by law to do so), thereby allowing live ballots to be sent to people who have moved to another county or state and even to some who have died. We HOPE that an ineligible recipient will deal with that ballot honestly. We HOPE that recipient will not fraudulently vote a ballot that was not intended for him or her. But by the time fraud is identified, the election is over, and the only remedy is litigation or, God forbid, a new election – a nightmare scenario.

Election integrity is absolutely paramount in this election. I am old enough to remember the Florida hanging chad debacle in 2000. Much of the rage that resulted from that outcome still lingers today. The last thing we need is another election decided by lawyers, judges and state officials, which could occur from using universal mail-in ballots*.

- Kathy Brodie
  Orange County Citizen

*Editor's Note: Only eight states (CA, CO, HI, NJ, NV, OR, UT, VT) have universal mail-in voting. North Carolina does not.