The United States Postal Service has voiced concerns that mail-in ballots may not be delivered on time in at least one swing state, Pennsylvania.
While the possibility of fraud is a major (and documented) risk from mass mail-in voting, logistics and government incompetence pose even bigger threats.
As the Philadelphia Enquirer reports:
The USPS has warned Pennsylvania that some mail ballots might not be delivered on time because the state’s deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards,” prompting election officials to ask the state Supreme Court to extend the deadlines to avoid disenfranchising voters.
The warning came in a July 29 letter from Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of the Postal Service, to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose department oversees elections. That letter was made public late Thursday in a filing her Department of State submitted to the Supreme Court, asking it to order that mail ballots be counted as long as they are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election date.
If the court agrees, that could increase the likelihood that the results of the presidential race between President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden won’t be known for days after the election.
The issue Pennsylvania faces is simply getting ballots to people on time, but even that only represents the first issue they could run into.
In June we got a preview of what mass mail-in voting would look like nationally when 1-in-5 ballots in the Paterson New Jersey election were disqualified following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft. That happened not along after it was reported that 500-700 Republican voters in one New Jersey township received ballots listing only Democrat candidates in the mail.
While an incredible 20% of ballots were disqualified in Paterson, in Brooklyn 25% of mail-in ballots for the June primary were declared invalid. Citywide, over 80,000 ballots have been disqualified, or 21% of the total cast in the Big Apple.
Even without any bad actors there are still massive logistical problems with mail-in voting that the government simply isn’t competent enough to address. Over 1.1 million stimulus checks were recently sent to dead people – how do we know the same wouldn’t happen with ballots? While the 1.1 million sent to the wrong people accounted for only 0.5% of stimulus checks sent (by dollar value), a 0.5% error margin is more than enough to make a difference in an election (particularly in swing states). And that’s just the potential error rate for people receiving the wrong ballot. The USPS’ lost mail rate has to be added onto that, which unfortunately isn’t known.
Swing states like Michigan were decided by a minuscule 0.3% margin (with Trump garnering 13,080 more votes) in 2016, while New Hampshire was decided by a mere 2,701 votes. How does anyone think the results in those states would be received in a situation where tens of thousands of ballots had to be disqualified?