The last thing America needed to see were legal actions by teams representing the Republicans challenging the election results on November 3, 2020.
Regrettably this is going to happen due to the record number of mail-in ballots - estimated at 63.9 million - according to the U.S. Elections Project.
The best - and safest - way to have stopped these emerging court battles was by encouraging voting in person - not by mail.
It was therefore disturbing to see the Washington Post giving the following advice to its readers in a window headed: "Election 2020: What to know"
Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.
This panel was prominently positioned below a Washington Post article dated August 17th headlined: "State officials rush to shore up confidence in Nov. 3 election as voters express new fears about mail voting".
The article itself contained the following statements:
- Absentee voting has become so common that in 34 states and the District, any voter can ask for an absentee ballot, even if the voter is physically able to vote in person on Election Day, a practice called "no-excuse absentee voting."
- As the use of absentee voting evolved, election officials began referring to the practice with other terms, such as "advanced ballots," "mailed ballots," "vote-by-mail ballots" and "mail ballots," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
- Some states prefer to call it "mail-in voting" rather than "absentee voting," because voters will be mailed a ballot regardless of whether they are in town or "absent" from their polling precinct on Election Day.
- Why are there so many terms? It's a result of a decentralized election administration system in the United States, in which each state sets its own rules on how to conduct elections, experts say. And each state's rules and regulations around absentee voting vary.
The advice was grossly misleading and it was popping up all over the internet:
"Absentee voting": Requiring the voter to expressly request ballot papers be posted to him-was very different from:
"mail–in voting": The unsolicited mail out of ballot papers addressed to individual voters where they may no longer live or may be deceased-easily capable of being harvested and illegally completed.
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About the Author
David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.