Postal voting in the United States
Postal voting is a form of absentee ballot in the United States. A ballot is mailed to the home of a registered voter, who fills it out and returns it by postal mail or drops it off in-person into a secure drop box or at a voting center. Research shows that the availability of postal voting increases voter turnout.
About Postal voting in the United States in brief
Postal voting is a form of absentee ballot in the United States. A ballot is mailed to the home of a registered voter, who fills it out and returns it by postal mail or drops it off in-person into a secure drop box or at a voting center. Research shows that the availability of postal voting increases voter turnout. It has been argued that postal voting has a greater risk of fraud than in- person voting, though known instances of such fraud are very rare. As of July 2020, five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington—hold elections almost entirely by mail. In the 2016 US Presidential election, approximately 33 million vote-by-mail ballots were cast, about a quarter of all ballots cast. Some jurisdictions use one envelope or privacy sleeve inside an outer envelope, for privacy. The envelope containing the ballot is then either mailed, or dropped off at a local ballot collection center. The deadline is determined by state law. In some jurisdictions, postmarks are not counted, and ballots must be received by a certain time on election day. In other jurisdictions, a ballot must have a postmark on or before the day of the election and be received prior to the date of certification. The election office prints a unique barcode on the return envelope provided for each ballot, so processing of each envelope can be tracked, sometimes publicly, and corresponding signature files can be loaded quickly to check the voter’s signature on the envelope when it returns. In April 2020, an NBC News study found that 58% of voters would favor nationwide election reform to allow everyone to vote by mail, and another 9% favor allowing it this year because of COVID-19 pandemic.
One study found the in person voting in Wisconsin in April 2020 did not produce a detectable surge in American-risk activity, and rated it as a low-risk, low-cost option. The Help America Vote Act requires some polling options, often at central election headquarters, with voting machines designed for disabled people. Some states let voters with permanent disabilities apply for permanent absentee voter status, and some other states let all citizens apply for Permanent absentee ballot for each election. In September 2020, CNN obtained a Homeland Security Department intelligence bulletin asserting that Russia is likely to continue amplifying criticisms of vote- by-mail and shifting voting processes amidst the CO VID-19 Pandemic to undermine public trust in the electoral process. Some jurisdictions used only absentee votes for the coronavirus pandemic, during lock-downs for the 2020 US presidential election, but 87% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans supported this measure. In fact, in most jurisdictions, all valid absentee ballots are counted even if they if they will not affect the outcome of an election. In some states, ballots may be sent by the Postal Service without prepayment of postage. All-mail elections can save money, while a mix of voting options can cost more. Vote by mail is available in both red and blue states.