Pressure for all-mail balloting is relentless. All-mail balloting seems to me to be more like an administrative procedure than an election.
Fair and honest elections include oversights based on hard-learned experience. Most of those controls get tossed out with all-mail balloting.
The claim of a higher turnout with all-mail balloting is certainly not true as a general rule. No valid studies support claims of increased turnout. The best, though insufficient, studies I have seen suggest turnout declines with all-mail balloting over time.
Do we really want to argue that we can’t afford real elections because all-mail is cheaper? If real democracy cost a little more, do we just skip it for an administrative procedure? Costs can be shuttled around to reach predetermined conclusions regarding all-mail versus precinct elections. For example, in precinct elections, sworn election judges maintain a chain-of-custody of the live ballots—formally an essential part of election integrity. The equivalent for all-mail balloting would be to send the ballots by certified mail using sworn postal workers and have each voter show an ID and sign for the ballot at his/her door. How would adding this piece of election integrity affect election cost?
My final point: Nellie is my lovely eighty-year-old neighbor. Her son pitched out her mail ballot. He didn’t think it was important. She had planned to vote, but couldn’t. Were she younger, she might have found an alternative way to vote on short notice. As it was, her vote was lost. It would have been cast if she could have voted in the precinct. So this all-mail procedure meant this one vote was lost. Does it matter? It does to me. Does it to you?
Ivan C. Meek