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Will a rise in postal voting have an impact on the outcome of the US election?

Election in the United States

The 2020 US presidential election is little more than a week away. However, as November 3rd approaches, a debate on how Americans can cast their ballot without fear or favour still spreads across the states.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread like wildfire across America, a record number of votes are predicted to be sent via mail before next Tuesday.

For the first time, New Jersey, along with several other states, has sent ballots to all of its residents. And, it is believed that nearly two-thirds of voters will take advantage of the mail-in option this year – a rise from just one-quarter of voters across the last two elections.

In the past, both the Democrats and the Republicans have both supported the mail-in system. However, in the build-up to this year’s election, President Trump, who is now the outsider to Biden in the next US President odds, has continuously slammed the process, and has even branded it a scam. It comes as a poll by The Wall Street Journal revealed that 47% of Democratic voters are likely to use the mail-in system than just 11% of Republican backers.

Evidence suggests that President Trump’s claim of the mail-in vote being a scam is ‘fake news’. Due to identity verification, ballot tracking, and several other security measures, fraudulence via mail votes is few and far between. In fact, voter fraud is that rare that a study from Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt discovered just 35 credible allegations in over 834 million ballots cast between 2000 and 2014.

Actually, if anyone should be wary of the mail-in system, it should be Mr Biden himself. With many of his supporters set to cast their ballots in the mail, there is the very real risk that not all of the votes will be counted, and undercounting could seriously affect his candidacy.

Back in the summer, the US Postal Service admitted that they could not make assurances that all mail-in votes will arrive in time to be accounted for, meaning that the ballot could be null and voided.

That’s not all there is to worry about when it comes to postal ballots, either. Mail-in votes are also more likely to succumb to loss and error, another factor that could severally damage the Democrats attempt at winning back control of the White House.

Moreover, there is further evidence to suggest that, in certain areas of the United States, Democratic voters are more likely to have their postal ballot rejected than those who favour the Republicans. A recent study, which looked at the last two general elections in Florida, discovered that Black and Hispanic voters are two times more likely to have their ballots rejected than white voters, whilst 18-21-year-old’s are also a whopping four times more likely to have their ballots dismissed than those in the 45-64 bracket.

For these reasons, the advantage of potentially more voters casting their ballot due to the mail-in system could be quashed, and when you factor together all of these crucial points, it is probably President Trump who holds the advantage when it comes to the mail-in system – whether he likes it or not.

With most states waiting to count the influx of postal ballots until November 3rd, be prepared for this election to drawn out, and for Trump to shoot into an early lead, as in-person votes are often counted first. But, will Biden be able to claw back into the race as the postal votes are counted? or will he be left ruing his decision to back mail-in system? We will just have to wait to find out!

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