'Blind spots' in absentee voting make it dangerous for democracy: legal expert

Friday, June 26, 2020
 | 
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)

mail-in ballotA legal scholar says an "all-mail" election would disenfranchise many voters – the opposite outcome of what proponents of such a change desire.

Mail-in (or absentee) voting is a procedure normally allotted for those who must vote absentee because they are physically disabled or are overseas serving in the military or the diplomatic service. But with the continued fears of many Americans about the coronavirus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and other Democrats are pushing the idea of allowing everyone to vote by mail.

Pelosi's arguments? It would "remove all obstacles to participation" … it would protect the "life of our democracy" … and it's a health issue: "Standing in those lines, for that amount of time, going to places that are enclosed, is dangerous to your health."

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and manager of its Election Law Reform Initiative, clearly disagrees with the House speaker. He argues that the absentee ballot system introduces "huge blind spots in the chain of custody" – and it's in those blind spots where abuses occur.

von Spakovsky, Hans (Heritage)"… Absentee or mail-in ballots … are the most vulnerable to everything," he contends, "from fraud, to stolen ballots, to voters being intimidated and pressured in their homes to vote a particular way, to the vagary of the U.S. Postal Service and you being dependent on them delivering ballots to you and them delivering the ballots you've completed back."

And von Spakovsky says the general public ought to be outraged over this because "people are going to be disenfranchised" if they can't go into a polling place and vote.

"And we know [in-person voting] can be safely done because it's been safely done in prior elections," he continues. "I voted myself just a couple of weeks ago in my town council elections – and I actually felt safer in my polling place than I do when I go to the grocery store or my pharmacy."

The Heritage Foundation fellow adds this explanation in a recent article:

"Absentee ballots are cast outside the supervision of election officials and outside the presence of election observers. This destroys the important principle of transparency. It potentially intrudes on the secrecy of the ballot-casting process and subjects voters to intimidation and pressure in their homes."

Von Spakovsky says with states reopening, there should be no reason people can't vote in person.

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