Biden won in 2020, but absentee voting remains a tangible threat to U.S. elections
By Kent R. Kroeger (July 26, 2022)
Regardless of what we hear today in the national news media, the potential for voter fraud has been and remains a critical issue in U.S. elections, even though past U.S. elections have not experienced widespread voter fraud (including the 2020 presidential election).
One reason for this is that leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties, at least before 2020, generally agree that protecting the integrity of the voting process is vital to election legitimacy. And efforts to ensure that legitimacy identify absentee voting as one of the weakest links in the voting process.
To illustrate, during a North Carolina voting commission meeting in 2018, the state’s Attorney General, Josh Stein, a Democrat, said “the bulk of voter fraud is by absentee.”
At the time, that was not a controversial statement. Academic research and investigative journalism on vote fraud has frequently found absentee voting is vulnerable to fraud (examples here, here, here, here and here). A North Carolina congressional race would have been stolen by the Republicans in 2018 through ballot harvesting fraud had not one of their operatives, the recently deceased McCrae Dowless, been particularly careless in paying campaigns workers to collect absentee ballots (a crime in North Carolina) and, in some cases, filling out incomplete ballots (also a crime).
Before the toxic partisanship of today’s political environment, a 2005 bipartisan study on the health of the U.S. electoral system, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, concluded:
“Absentee balloting is vulnerable to abuse in several ways: Blank ballots mailed to the wrong address or to large residential buildings might get intercepted. Citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace, or in church are more susceptible to pressure, overt and subtle, or to intimidation. Voting buying schemes are far more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail. States therefore should reduce the risks of fraud and abuse in absentee voting by prohibiting “third-party” organizations, candidates, and political party activists from handling absentee ballots.”