USA Today Estimates At Least 1 Million Ballots Will Be Tossed For Errors If Half the Country Votes By Mail

Brittany M. Hughes | October 9, 2020
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According to a new estimate from USA Today, more than 1.03 million people are likely to have their ballots tossed out if half the country votes by mail this election – and the numbers keep rising from there.

Using data from previous elections showing about how many ballots are tossed from each state every voting cycle, USA Today, along with Columbia Journalism Investigations and PBS series FRONTLINE, reports the number of ballots thrown out for various reasons are “projected to reach historic levels.” Ballots can be –and often are – thrown out for errors like a torn or incorrect envelope, the lack of signature on the witness line, or even using the wrong ink pen.

If 75 percent of the country votes by mail, the number of ballots expected to be tossed rises to 1.55 million – and counting.

“Record numbers of voters will be voting absentee for the first time in 2020, and voters new to vote-by-mail are at greater risk of making mistakes. If errors push the rejection rate up just 2%, about 2.15 million votes would be cast aside – roughly the population of New Mexico,” USA Today adds.

The number of ballots that are thrown out in swing states could make a huge difference, given the narrow margin between candidates in the last election, according to Amherst College law professor Lawrence Douglas. He added that in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania alone, anywhere between 45,000 and 67,000 ballots could be chucked.

“A result like this in November could cast doubt on who actually carried the key swing states, with the overall election hanging in the balance," said Douglas, who added that such an outcome could trigger "a chaotic welter of lawsuits and clashing conspiracy theories."

The issue of tossed ballots adds to largely Republican concerns over voter fraud and mail tampering, worries that have only been bolstered as lost ballots in New Jersey and piles of mail found in a Wisconsin ditch fuel the fires of doubt in the system. So far, Democrats have outright rejected claims of voter fraud, pointing to early and mail-in voting as necessary during the COVID pandemic to keep people safe from having to go to the crowded polls.

But now, even liberals are worried about mail-in voting problems, saying historical data shows that ballot rejection is more likely to occur in minority communities, who when counting all the individual elections included on one ballot, could stand to lose hundreds of thousands of votes in any single community.

"If this were a banking system, nobody would accept an error rate of that kind," Kim Alexander, president of the nonprofit California Voter Foundation.

Over at The Atlantic, some on the left have shifted their stance in voting by mail, now claiming that “voting in person is probably not as dangerous as Democratic leaders initially feared” – especially when compared to the risks of having your ballot not counted because of a simple error.

Given this new and, I'm sure, entirely shocking information, perhaps we should add one more question to the ballot this November: "Should Democrats have considered mail-in voting pitfalls before pushing for a new and hastily erected voting system that lacked the necessary infrastructure for a safe and secure election?"

Disclaimer: anyone who answers "no" will have their ballot rejected for stupidity.

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