Experiment Exposes Potential Serious Issue with Mail-In Voting
RNC says results are a 'disaster,' raises concerns for vote-by-mail election
An experiment into the reliability of mail-in ballots has exposed a potentially serious issue in relying on the method for voting in the upcoming elections.
Concerns about the integrity of voting by mail prompted CBS This Morning to conduct an experiment.
The team sent out mock ballots to a fake local election office, and the results were far from encouraging.
In the experiment, the show's co-host Tony Dokoupil set up a P.O. Box to represent a local election office.
Another 100 were also sent a few days after the initial ballots were mailed.
However, only 97 percent of the original batch had arrived after a week, and 21 percent of the second batch had not materialized after four days.
3 percent of votes not being counted in a close election could have a significant impact, CBS points out.
Other inconsistencies were found as well, including the post office's initial inability to find the ballots when Dokoupil went to pick them up and other mail not associated with the experiment being delivered to his box.
The fake ballots used the same size envelope, same class of mail, and were even folded the same way to approximate the weight, although real ballots do have a logo that is intended to expedite them that CBS was unable to replicate.
“We’re gonna see somewhere between probably 80 and 100 million voters receiving their ballot that way,” a former Arizona election official told Dokoupil.
Almost half of states allow voters to receive ballots less than half-a-week before the election.
When Dokoupil inquired about the missing votes, a postal worker was unable to locate them.
“I don’t see anything back there for you,” the worker said.
“That’s all I have back there right now.”
The worker later found them, adding, “They had them somewhere else.”
Despite the missing votes, CBS noted, they did receive a misplaced birthday card.
“We got a birthday card from Mike to Ronnie,” Dokoupil said.
“Have a sweet b-day. Get it? There’s a bee on top.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken flak for claiming that mail-in voting is potentially rife with voter fraud and subject to interference from foreign governments.
Attorney General Bill Barr likewise maintained in his contentious Tuesday hearing on Capitol Hill that “common sense” dictates that foreign entities would seek to interfere in U.S. elections through counterfeit mail-in voting.
New York Mail-In voting is in a disastrous state of condition. Votes from many weeks ago are missing - a total mess. They have no idea what is going on. Rigged Election. I told you so. Same thing would happen, but on massive scale, with USA. Fake News refuses to report!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
According to the U.S. Postal Service, voters should return their mail-in ballots at least one week prior to the election.
The postmaster general declined CBS News’ request for an interview, but issued a statement that said in part:
We employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail, including ballots.
This includes close coordination and partnerships with election officials at the local and state levels.
As we anticipate that many voters may choose to use the mail to participate in the upcoming elections due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting and will continue to proactively conduct outreach with state and local election officials and Secretaries of State so that they can make informed decisions and educate the public about what they can expect when using the mail to vote.
As part of these outreach efforts, we will discuss our delivery processes and will consult with election officials about how they can design their mailings in a manner that comports with postal regulations, improves mailpiece visibility, and ensures efficient and cost-effective processing and delivery.