Mail-in Ballots Create Controversy

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With the coronavirus threatening the safety at voting sites, more people will be opting for mail-in ballots in November. (Image Source: google.com)

A lot of controversy is surrounding the upcoming election regarding the method the general public will be using to vote. Is voting in person safe? Would a mail in ballot be a better alternative? 

With a new election coming up in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of things to consider before going out to vote. Getting infected is a fear of many people , and some are turning to mail in ballots. Mailing in your ballot is a way of voting for those who will be out of the country, absent, or unable to leave their house during the election. 

A concern about mail-in ballots is the mailing taking longer than it should or having a problem with the postal service. In Maryland, a ballot is supposed to be mailed before Oct. 20, and for Virginia, Oct. 23. The United States Postal Service requests that ballots be sent in 15 days before Election Day, which would be October 19. Washington D.C./Maryland news source WUSA9 reported, “According to Maryland’s election board, it is possible local election offices will not receive your ballot request in time if you wait to send it in until Oct. 19.”

Due to problems with the directions on the ballot for what date to send it out being incorrect along with the part that says you have to request a ballot, for states like Colorado, ballots are immediately sent out whether you’ve requested one or not. USPS has been under a lot of pressure for that. Politifact.com reported the USPS reply as “Our mailer was intended to be general all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state rules.” The mailer which is sent to all citizens of the U.S who can vote gives the correct directions on how to request and mail a ballot.

Putting all that aside, is voting in person safe? The Atlantic, a news site, says voting in person isn’t any more risky than going to the grocery store. Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and other Democrats are pushing mail in ballots to ease minds. Republicans are insisting on in-person voting. There is no evidence proving that in person voting would cause an outbreak. No major outbreaks have been linked to polls. Still, lots of Democrats are requesting mail in ballots, while a number of Republicans are still choosing to vote in person.  We haven’t had an election on this scale during the pandemic, so who knows what will happen. 

Voters on both ends have expressed their opinions on it, with the black and Latino communities who have been hit hard by COVID-19 showing a lot of fear towards the idea of an outbreak from in-person voting. Each voter will need to do what feels right to them. For some, that may be the reassurance that comes with clicking the submit button at the polls.  For others, it may be dropping their  ballots in the mail.

Sources:  www.theatlantic.com, www.wusa9.com, www.politifact.com