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GUEST

GUEST COLUMN: The importance of voting in person

Diana Gilbert
Guest Columnist
The News Herald

There is currently a push by some people and organizations to change to “all mail elections.” They claim there is no voter fraud, and this would simply make it easier for people to vote without worrying about the coronavirus.

Well, there are thousands of cases of voter fraud, and “all mail elections” will increase the fraud. This should give anyone concern who cares about ballot integrity.

Fraud occurs throughout the process of registering and voting. Some examples include false voter registration, duplicate voting, ineligible voting, impersonation fraud at the polls, vote buying, illegal assistance and intimidation of voters, altering vote counts, etc.

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In the last presidential election millions of ineligible people were listed as voters. Dead people voting is one of many ways of fraudulent votes. Although voter ID is a common-sense way to hinder voter fraud, 15 states, such as California and New York, don’t have voter ID requirements.

There are many concerns with an all vote-by-mail system. “All” ballots are cast outside the public eye, thus increasing opportunity for voter impersonation and coercion. Vote-by-mail ballots aren’t as secure as in-person ballots at the booth. There’s no guarantee every ballot gets to the right person, is filled out, and returned by the right person. In fact, many ballots will go to the home of someone who is deceased or has moved!

Also, can you imagine the time and cost it would take to tally “all” votes by mail? It could be weeks after the election, which leaves room for more fraud. In 2018 in Florida during a recount of two candidates, over 78,000 ballots were discovered in an Avis Rental at an airport for Broward County five days after the election. All 67 counties reported their votes by the deadline except Broward County.

California’s governor ordered a vote-by-mail system through November. Every registered voter will receive a mail-in-ballot, even though it wasn’t requested. According to the California Globe, 458,000 residents who died or moved are still on the “active” roll so would receive a ballot!

In Florida all ballots must be received by election day, but some groups are suing to change that to be postmarked by election day and count any votes that arrive within 10 days of that deadline! This ridiculous idea would mean that no election could be called on election day!

Ballot harvesting (political activists allowed to collect absentee ballots and turn them in) is illegal in most states. Those suing also want to allow paid organizers to collect vote-by-mail ballots from voters who require assistance. In addition, they want the government to pay the postage instead of the voters. That would be an extra financial burden on the states.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility to fill out a ballot, vote at the polling booth/get one’s ballot in on time, and pay the postage if mailing?

Don’t be deceived! Safeguarding election integrity is of the utmost importance to our nation!

Diana Gilbert, Niceville