June 19, 2020
'Many Thousands, If Not Millions' Of Mail-In Ballots Could Be Uncounted In November, Political Scientist Says

As calls to increase the use of mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic continue, a United States elections specialist claims that there is a chance the process could lead to many votes being uncounted in November, The Intercept reported.

"Just by the sheer volume — and just assuming there's a constant error rate — we're going to get a significant increase in just the number, the absolute number of rejections," said University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald. "There are going to be many thousands, if not millions, of people who are going to be having problems with their mail ballots."

According to The Intercept, one common issue that could fuel this danger is inconsistent signature matching rules. Others include errors in the attached form, lateness, lack of a witness, and absence of a signature.

"Voters who might otherwise have asked a poll worker for help might make mistakes on the ballot they fill out at home, causing their vote not to count," the publication noted.

Using data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, The Intercept and Type Investigations reportedly determined that more than 950,000 ballots were rejected in the 2016 presidential election. Notably, the risk of rejected ballots varies across states. For example, in 2016, Georgia's mail-in ballot rejection rate was approximately 30 times more than the rate in Wisconsin. The publication suggests that such rates could cause significant issues in November, which is the first time in American history that a large portion of the country may be voting by mail.

Although mail-in votes can be rejected for legitimate reasons, The Intercept noted that human error can also be the cause. According to the Election Assistance Commission, the most common reason in 2016 was a "perceived mismatch" between the ballot signature and the one on the voter registration.

The report from The Intercept comes as Donald Trump and his allies continue to attempt to thwart Democratic attempts to expand vote-by-mail options amid the pandemic. As The Inquisitr reported, the president has suggested that the mail-in voting process has been victim to thousands of forgeries. However, his own voter fraud commission reportedly found no evidence suggesting this to be the case.

Per Global News, Trump has gone as far as to threaten to pull funding from states that move forward with mail-in voting expansion. On the other side of the spectrum, NBC News reported that progressive donors launched a $59 million effort to increase Democratic Party voter turnout by encouraging Americans of color to vote by mail in November.