While early voting and absentee voting can enhance accessibility and convenience, there are potential risks associated with these methods. It is essential to address these risks to ensure the integrity and security of the election process. Some possible risks to Election Integrity for America include:
Increased vulnerability to voter fraud: Early voting and absentee voting introduce additional opportunities for fraudulent activities, such as impersonation, ballot harvesting, or coercion. These risks arise from separating the voter from the traditional polling place, making it harder to verify the voter's identity and detect fraudulent practices.
Ballot mishandling or loss: Absentee ballots, typically mailed, may be subject to misuse or loss during the mailing process. This could lead to polls not reaching voters in time or not being received by election officials, potentially disenfranchising voters. Similarly, mishandling returned absentee ballots during the counting process can lead to errors or doubts about the accuracy of the results.
Lack of voter privacy: Early voting and absentee voting may compromise the secrecy of the voting process. When individuals vote outside of a controlled polling place environment, they may be subject to coercion or influence from others, potentially leading to compromised choices. Safeguards must be in place to ensure that voters can cast their ballots privately and without interference.
Limited opportunities for last-minute information: By voting early or through absentee ballots, voters may miss out on critical last-minute developments or news that could influence their decisions. This includes new revelations about candidates or issues, which voters may not have the chance to consider if they have already cast their ballots.
Potential for administrative errors: The extended timeline of early voting and absentee voting may increase the likelihood of administrative errors, such as inaccurately processing voter registrations, mishandling ballots during counting, or incorrectly recording votes. These errors could affect the integrity and accuracy of the election results.
To mitigate these risks, election authorities implement security measures such as signature verification, secure ballot drop-off locations, chain-of-custody procedures, and complete audit trails. Educating voters about the dangers and providing clear instructions on properly completing and returning absentee ballots also helps minimize potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, maintaining transparency and public trust in the election process is crucial to address concerns and mitigate early and absentee voting risks.