Stories of the Arriving Disaster That Is "Vote By Mail" Reveal a System Destined to Be FUBAR

Rich Pedroncelli

 

In retrospect, we will only have ourselves to blame for this.

A week ago I wrote this story asking at what point will the country concede that “vote by mail” is a colossal failure.  The main issue in that story was a series of old stories about Postal Workers throwing away mail rather than delivering it, and how the “vote-by-mail” process will uncomfortably rest on the “integrity” of hundreds of thousands of Postal Workers who must get millions of mailed-in ballots from the voters to the elections officials in a narrow time frame.  How will that process be validated as being accurate?

I mentioned in that story some problems that had developed in Ohio with ballots being mailed to the wrong addresses, or voters receiving ballots that included races which didn’t apply to the location where they lived.  Those were all printing errors.  The ballots were “spoiled” before they could be cast, and now there is a much shorter window within which to correct the defects.

Now with only 17 days to go before the election, more stories seem to show up every day about problems with ballot delivery — and every day there is one less day to fix the problem.

I mentioned in my story last week that as many as 250,000 voters in Franklin County, Ohio, received defective ballots that included some of the wrong races.  County election officials assured voters corrected ballots would be sent to all voters, and the mistaken ballots would be invalidated so they could not be cast accidentally.  We’ll see how that works out.

Today there is a new story out of Ohio claiming that the private printing company contracted with to print ballots for 16 different counties in Pennsylvania and Ohio is not only delivering ballots that are flawed, but their capacity is also being overwhelmed simply by the number of ballots that the counties are requesting based on increases in voter registration and absentee ballot requests.

This story is in the NYT — which I refuse to link out of principle — so you will not be surprised to learn that the Times sees the “hidden hand” of sinister Trump forces behind the problems.  They note that the Ohio company in question, owned and operated by two brothers, recently began flying a Trump flag at their facility.  The story says that 30,000 ballots were sent to wrong addresses in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh.   The implication is that the company is secretly helping the Trump campaign by helping to suppress the vote of African-American voters in Pittsburgh — ignoring the fact that the City of Pittsburgh has a population of only 300,000, out of the county population of 1.2 million.

Earlier today my Red State colleague Scott Hounsell had this story that — so far — it seems that approximately 400,000 ballots in California have been mailed to people who no longer live at the address listed for them on voter registration rolls.  These weren’t mailed to the wrong address by error — they were legitimate vote-by-mail ballots sent to people who do not live at the address and have not lived at the address for a decade or more.

In the quaint old days of showing up and voting in person, the California voter went to a precinct that was connected to the address where they lived.  Your registration linked your name and address to a specific location.  When you arrived there your name was on the precinct list of eligible voters for that location.  If you were in the wrong place, someone could assist you in finding out where you were supposed to vote.

With this ridiculous vote-by-mail system that California has adopted, millions of ballots are going to end up in locations they don’t belong, and there are ZERO mechanisms in place to prevent the unscrupulous from filling out the ballots and mailing them in.

Two weeks ago it was reported that Brooklyn voters who had requested absentee ballots were sent ballot return envelopes with their materials that had identifier information for a different person.  That meant that if the voter filled out their ballot, and returned it in the mislabeled envelope, the computer system would have recorded that some other person’s vote had been received.  If that other person then attempted to vote in-person, their vote would not be counted.

As noted, that was two weeks ago.  Presumably, election officials in New York have had enough time to correct the problem.  But “time” is a rapidly dwindling resource.

How will the country react if there is some problem of significance with mail-in-votes discovered only AFTER it’s too late to fix it?