History Confirms That Mass Mail-In Voting Fraud Is a Myth

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When COVID-19 emerged in late 2019, few people could have predicted the virus would upend society within a matter of months — but that’s precisely what it did, permanently altering the ways we go about our daily lives in the process. While the pandemic failed to subside as autumn approached, it became clearer our day-to-day dealings weren’t primed to be the only things subjected to pandemic-related interruptions. Large-scale events were going to require some serious modifications, too, and that meant, as 2020’s presidential and other elections drew nearer, voting was about to look much different in the midst of the enduring public health crisis.

In this new age of social distancing and statewide lockdown orders, mail-in and early voting became clear solutions to mitigating some of the health risks that in-person voting on Election Day presented. But despite assurances of absentee voting’s safety, a number of voters remained skeptical — and still feel this way even now that the election has passed. It’s by no means a new way to cast a ballot. But with the increased attention it’s gotten in the wake of the pandemic — and the fact that it helped spur massive voter turnout in the 2020 election along with claims from Donald Trump that "rampant voter fraud stole victory from him" — voting by mail is continuing to face controversy, politicization and villainization as politicians and others carry on decrying its expansion.

So, is voting by mail a safe and effective way to make our voices heard or a mainline into the mire of mass voter fraud? Examining voting by mail data in the United States shows us its track record says much about the actual (and extremely limited) potential for fraud, despite the narrative that Trump, congressional Republicans and other right-wing allies have begun pushing as they’ve struggled to cope with Trump’s 2020 loss.