We Need to Protect Mail Voting

This article was originally published in September 2020


Griffin Eckstein, News Editor

President Trump has been outspoken in his attacks on and attempts to dismantle voting by mail during a historic pandemic.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many argue that the right to vote by mail should be expanded to prevent infection at the ballot box and that people should not have to choose between their rights and their health. However, the president has repeatedly said that voting by mail leads to widespread voter fraud, tweeting “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.” He has also falsely insinuated that mailboxes could spread COVID in another tweet, which was flagged by Twitter for violating their terms of service.

These claims were strongly rejected by US Intelligence agencies, including the FBI, and the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, but the president has made it clear that he will do anything in his power to stop voting by mail. This includes dismantling the very infrastructure that delivers over 140 billion pieces of mail a year, including everything from life-saving medicine to products from small businesses.

The post office is one of the only divisions of the federal government that is explicitly founded and protected by the Constitution, in Article 1. Dismantling the postal service has long been a goal of many conservatives, but dismantling such a large portion of mail-counting machines before an election is simply an overreach and a power grab.

President Trump is known to exaggerate or even lie about widespread voter fraud, insinuating that he only lost the popular vote in 2016 because of millions of illegal votes, a claim with no evidence whatsoever.

It is a disturbing thought, but not an awfully hard conclusion to draw that President Trump wants to suppress the minority vote in any way possible. A leaked audio clip of the President surfaced, where he celebrates the fact that voter turnout amongst African-American voters was low in 2016, specifically saying “Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote” … “That was almost as good as getting the vote.” These voter suppression techniques are worrisome, considering President Trump has the support of only 5 to 10 percent of black voters in many polls.

Many cities and urban areas with high minority populations have already seen a severe reduction in the number of polling places available, which is a clear tactic to make it more difficult for minorities to vote. Over 1600 polling stations across the country have closed in the last 8 years. Here in Maricopa county, 177 polling locations have been closed since 2012, according to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Shutting down vote-by-mail further disenfranchises American voters.

If you plan to vote by mail, you should research how to receive an absentee ballot as soon as possible, according to Vote.org. In Arizona, you must register at https://my.arizona.vote/Early/ApplicationLogin.aspx​. They also recommend sending your ballot early enough to guarantee it arrives before election day, at least a week before November 3.