Those old enough to have voted in the 2000 general election probably remember how long it took to get final results in for president after a recount between George Bush and Al Gore.
By the time the recount ended a few days later, Bush won Florida by 537 votes, a margin of 0.009%. The recount and subsequent lawsuits resulted in controversy, with the U.S. Supreme Court finally putting an end to the recounts and “hanging chads” that left election officials, often under the watchful eye of the media, trying to determine voters’ intentions when punch hole ballots weren’t marked clearly.
In the end with the Florida vote, Bush won 271 electoral votes — one more than a majority.
This could be relevant in 2020 because it looks as if many states aren’t going to be prepared to count all the mail-in votes immediately. Mail-in ballots are expected to rise significantly because of COVID-19.
It’s also unclear if the ballots will be delivered in time by the postal service to be counted before the Nov. 3 election in some states. Nothing undermines the confidence of the electorate like newly discovered boxes of ballots that arrive after an election is over.
Another concern is that in a handful of states, a ballot is automatically mailed to every eligible voter.
Does this seem wise, especially when some voters who have died have not been removed from the voter rolls?
In addition, some states automatically register voters to mail when they get or renew their driver’s licenses. A department of motor vehicles license applicant who is not registered to vote subsequently is sent a letter informing them that they will be registered unless they choose to opt out by signing and returning a postcard.
There are good intentions trying to get more eligible people to vote, but there are problems with counterfeit driver’s licenses. Naturally, counterfeit votes would be cast. In the first six months of this year, Customs and Borden Protection officers seized nearly 20,000 counterfeit U.S. driver’s licenses at Chicago’s O’Hare airport alone, according to several media reports.
The 19,888 licenses and other fake documents were included in 1,513 overseas shipments, mostly from China and Hong Kong, according to FOX 5 in New York City. Having everyone with a driver’s license vote can have disastrous consequences, especially if there are organized efforts to use counterfeit IDs.
When there are so many potentials for fraud, doesn’t it make sense to have all mail-in ballots sent in early — say Oct. 27 or at least one week before the general election date of Nov. 3? That way, election counts have a much better chance of being completed by Nov. 4 and the faith in the system isn’t questioned, such as what happened in 2000.