•   
  •   
  •   

Politics How your state verifies the authenticity of your mail-in ballot

20:27  08 october  2020
20:27  08 october  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

Kate Middleton visits a London Scouts Group for outdoor activities

  Kate Middleton visits a London Scouts Group for outdoor activities Kate Middleton, 38, dressed down in jeans, a gilet and practical boots to meet Cub and Beaver Scouts in Northolt, west London, this morning.Kate Middleton, 38, dressed down in jeans, a favourite gilet and a Scouts woggle to meet Cub and Beaver Scouts in Northolt, west London this morning.

a car parked on the side of a road: A woman in a face mask walks past a sign encouraging voters to vote absentee in light of COVID-19 precautions on the grounds of the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis © AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis A woman in a face mask walks past a sign encouraging voters to vote absentee in light of COVID-19 precautions on the grounds of the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
  • As states have expanded voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump and others on the right have claimed that voter and election fraud with mail ballots is rampant.
  • In reality, however, rates of fraud with mail ballots are incredibly low. Only around 0.0006% of mail ballots cast in the last 20 years have resulted in a criminal conviction, according to Heritage Foundation data.
  • States use a number of largely successful measures to verify the authenticity of mail ballots, and to easily detect and prevent fraud and interference when it is attempted.
  • See what measures each state uses to verify mail ballots.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As states have expanded the accessibility of voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump and other top Republicans have spread exaggerated and false claims that voter fraud with mail ballots is rampant.

'Mailmen selling ballots. Dumped in rivers. Found in creeks': Trump makes unfounded claims about mail-in voting

  'Mailmen selling ballots. Dumped in rivers. Found in creeks': Trump makes unfounded claims about mail-in voting From claiming mailmen are "selling the ballots" to arguing that mail ballots are being "dumped in rivers," Trump ramped up his assault on mail-votingTrump now says he 'doesn't know' Proud Boys group

But in reality, all voter fraud, including fraud with mail ballots, is extremely rare.

A database of voter and election fraud cases maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation finds that documented cases of fraud with mail ballots are more common than cases of in-person voter impersonation, ballot petition fraud, and registration fraud, but that overall rates of fraud are infinitesimally low.

Heritage's database identified 143 criminal convictions and 50 civil penalties, diversions or other official findings for fraudulent use of mail ballots between 2000 and 2020, a time period during which approximately 250 million mail ballots were cast. That puts the rate of mail ballots resulting in criminal convictions at 0.0006% and the rate of mail ballots resulting in any kind of official action at 0.00007%.

Trump's campaign has a massive door-knocking operation. Biden's is just getting started. Will it matter?

  Trump's campaign has a massive door-knocking operation. Biden's is just getting started. Will it matter? The candidates' treatment of the coronavirus pandemic has shaped how both of their campaigns are reaching out to voters.The president's campaign is betting that even during a pandemic, face to face voter contact will give Trump an edge. But the Biden  is making a different calculation.

How do rates of fraud stay so low? Firstly, the decentralized nature of the US' election system makes it difficult to pull off any large-scale, coordinated voter fraud. And states use a number of largely successful measures to verify the authenticity of mail ballots, and to easily detect and prevent fraud and interference when it is attempted.

Every state requires a voter to sign an affidavit on the envelope containing their ballot, and for ballots to be received or postmarked by Election Day, or in the same states, the day before, to count.

As the following map shows, the majority of states also use a process called signature matching, in which election officials verify the signature on a voter's ballot envelope with the most recent signature on file.

For the 2020 election, six states will require voters to include a witness signature. A few states also require a signature from a notary public or photocopy of a voter's photo ID to be included with a voter's ballot. This year, Missouri, for example, will require all by-mail and absentee voters, except those confined in a long-term care facility and those who are over 65 or have other risk factors for COVID-19, to get their ballot notarized.

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor shoot new pandemic film Lockdown

  Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor shoot new pandemic film Lockdown Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor have been seen shooting some of the first scenes for new pandemic-themed film, Lockdown.Hathaway, who will play lead character Linda, could be seen looking weary while standing at an open window as she puffed on a cigarette in shots from filming.

If you're voting by mail this year, be sure to both sign the affidavit on your envelope and include any additional documentation that your state requires. While many states have an established "cure" process in which voters can fix mistakes with their ballots, you can save yourself and your election officials time and work by carefully following the instructions when you first fill out your ballot.

If you need help navigating the ID laws in your state, getting an ID, or making a photocopy of your ID to send in with a mail ballot, nonprofit organizations including VoteRiders can assist you.

A handful of states also include both an outer envelope and an inner secrecy envelope for voters to return their ballots in. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that election officials cannot accept any ballots that arrive without the secrecy envelope, which are sometimes referred to as "naked ballots."

In addition to voter signatures, signature matching, and witness signatures, many states affix voter identification numbers and barcodes on the ballot envelope that pertain specifically to the voter, precinct, and the election.

Worried About Voting By Mail? Here's How You Can Track Your Ballot

  Worried About Voting By Mail? Here's How You Can Track Your Ballot "We wanted voters to have full transparency, accountability and communication about the status of their ballot just like you would track a package," said Amber McReynolds of the National Vote at Home Institute. "Hundreds and hundreds of millions of ballots have been cast this way over a long period of time. The allegations are not correct.

These measures are key in enabling officials to ensure that the person who received the ballot is the one who turned it, prevent voters from voting twice, and also make it easier for voters to track the status of their ballot online.

Statewide or local election offices in 47 states and the District of Columbia now offer some form of online ballot tracking, with a number of states and counties also offering email and text message alerts when voters' ballots are sent out, received, and accepted.

Every municipality also creates ballots and envelopes in highly specialized ways that can't be easily counterfeited, down to the design of the ballot itself, the type of ink and font, and even the weight and color of the paper used.

The rules around verification of mail ballots have been intensely litigated in the courts in the months and weeks leading up to November 3.

Many Democratic organizations and non-partisan voting rights groups have sued states to lessen restrictions like witness signature requirements and to extend the deadline by which ballots can be received, while Republicans have fought in court to keep such restrictions in place, citing election integrity.

Three states that previously mandated witness signatures before 2020 -- Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Virginia --have suspended those requirements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina also reduced the number of required witness signatures on mail ballots from two to one.

And a lawsuit over South Carolina's witness signature requirement for mail ballots made it all the way to the US Supreme Court, with the court ruling to uphold the state's requirement for voters to obtain a witness signature.

Expanded Coverage Module: insider-voter-guide
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to fill out your mail ballot correctly and avoid having it rejected .
As a record number of voters cast their ballots through the mail, experts say voters should be extra cautious to avoid their ballot being thrown out. Some 550,000 ballots were rejected in this year's primaries, more than the 2016 general election, according to an analysis by NPR. That included more than 23,000 ballots in Wisconsin, which were late or filled out incorrectly, more than the margin of President Trump's victory there in 2016.

usr: 0
This is interesting!