Not too long ago, President Trump suggested that it might be a good idea to delay the election this November. Just about everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, strongly disagreed with the idea of postponing the election. The president explained that his reason for the suggestion was based on his concerns about mail-in voting, which he claimed was more susceptible to voter fraud. While the president does not have the power to alter the voting schedule, it does beg the question: is the call for a delay warranted?
The stated concern, voter fraud produced by mail-in ballots is at least worth looking into. When you consider the sheer number of ghost voters in the country, that is cause for concern. Mail-in ballots can make it easier to add votes for voters that shouldn’t be registered than voting in person does. In person voting requires at least an ID check, while it’s not really possible to do this with mail-in ballots. It’s also blatantly obvious right from the start whether you’re alive or dead, which is apparently a lot more difficult to determine with mail-in ballots.
In this case, however, it’s not so much the mail-in ballot that is the problem as it is inaccurate voter rolls. In Chicago and LA alone, for example, well over 100 deceased individuals in each city have repeatedly mailed in ballots. Voter fraud is definitely an issue worth considering and addressing, but delaying the election is probably not the way to go about it. It would be far better to update voter rolls and audit them for accuracy on a regular basis instead.
Perhaps of more immediate concern to many people is voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. While not listed as one of President Trump’s concerns in his tweet about delaying the election, it’s a concern that has been raised by many. Understandably so, too. In-person polling does come with higher risk of coronavirus spread, so polling locations need to put protective measures in place to protect voters, poll workers, and election officials. Rather than delaying the election, it would be wiser to allow for a longer window for in person voting to take place. This would help spread voters out and might even have the added benefit of making it easier for voters to work it into their schedules.
Overall, the concern President Trump raises about voter fraud may have some merit to it. And there is reason for concern regarding the election and how standard operating procedures for voting may impact or be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. That said, ultimately it is the responsibility of Congress to decide whether or not the election needs to be postponed. Based on the bipartisan responses to the president’s tweet, that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.