Can Mail-In Votes Be Trusted?
Reinforcing the trust in remote voting is paramount
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Mail-in voting is not a new concept. Mail-in or absentee ballots date back to the Civil War and, anecdotally, maybe back even further than that. These ballots originated to allow members of the military to vote in the US elections when they were in battle. Its use slowly grew to include US citizens that could not make it physically to the voting booths.
Over the years, the use of mail-in votes has grown steadily but, during the pandemic in 2020, the number of mail-in votes exploded. And because of the convenience and added safety it offers citizens, it isn’t going away anytime soon.
To be honest, before the 2020 elections, I had never thought about whether a mail-in ballot was a secure way to vote. But the 2020 elections brought this issue to the forefront. It wasn’t until a news release about a new mail-in ballot system from Kodak Alaris caught my attention that I began to wonder about mail-in ballot integrity, and what does the voting public think about it.
At Keypoint Intelligence, the printing, scanning, and processing of documents are very important to us. We are constantly researching, testing, and analyzing how the printed word meets current and future business needs. We also gather information on the business processes and managed services used to provide insights on how the printed word and the digital word will come together in the future. And I can’t think of a more vital printed paper in a democracy than the voting ballot. So, we got curious and asked in a LinkedIn poll: “Do you trust mail-in voting for elections?”
While the results were pretty even, it’s worth noting that a slight majority of our respondents said that they didn’t trust absentee voting for elections.
Voting by mail adds convenience, but it is not without its challenges. The process adds a few steps to the traditional election-booth voting. It starts with having secure ballot drop off sites that are convenient and safe. In many cases, there are two envelopes that must be inspected for any tampering and then these two envelopes must be opened. The ballot must be inspected for tampering, and a signature must be validated. If done properly, it works.
There is one conclusion for mail-in ballots to keep working. America has some work to do to convince voters that it is a secure way to vote—even though there have been many reports stating that there has been no evidence of anything but a miniscule number of possible fraudulent votes in the entire history of absentee voting. It’s impossible to hack a piece of paper. This history and the secure processing and counting of mail-in votes need to be publicized to instill confidence in the process. Voters need to hear about the thoughtfully developed and tested remote voting systems as much as they hear about the accusations about voter fraud so that mail-in voting does not cause discourse and erode the democratic systems that this country was built upon.
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