Mail-in voting vs. absentee voting has been the talk of the 2020 voting season, as Trump has stated multiple times that he is against universal mail-in ballots. He has stated that he doesn’t mind if people request an absentee ballot, but doesn’t want stacks of mail-in ballots mailed everywhere for people to do what they want to them. He is basically claiming that it is easier to sign a bunch of ballots before sending them in, committing voter fraud, but is this really the case? Along with this, digital voting and the interactive simple ballot have been talked about all over the nation, with people wondering how secure these options are during the presidential election 2020.
The Debate Between Mail-In Voting vs. Absentee Voting
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are requesting universal mail-in ballots as opposed to going to a polling place to vote. Many people are still scared to leave their homes due to the fear of getting sick and would prefer to vote within the comfort of their own homes. However, Trump has said that universal mail-in voting would be less secure, causing people to mail-in as many ballots as they want.
“Absentee ballots, by the way, are fine, but the universal mail-ins that are just sent all over the place, where people can grab them and grab stacks of them, and sign them and do whatever you want, that’s the thing we’re against,” Trump has stated when commenting to reporters on why he doesn’t want universal mail-in voting.
But is there really a difference between absentee ballots vs. mail-in ballots? With universal mail-in ballots, your ballot comes in the mail whether you request it or not. With an absentee ballot, you have to request that you won’t be attending a polling place and would like to vote by mail. Once you receive your ballot with either method, you still need to include your personal identifying information and a signature on your ballot. This allows government officials to verify who you are once you cast your vote.
Each ballot is counted and verified before a vote is even counted in the system. If there is a fraudulent ballot, it is tossed out and not counted within the 2020 presidential election. While Trump thinks that people can take stacks of these ballots and do what you want with them, even if someone attempted to do that their ballots would not be counted.
Why Don’t We Try Online Voting During the Presidential Election 2020?
The United States has experimented with the idea of online voting during a presidential election with thirty-two states and the District of Columbia. However, there are only certain groups of people that are allowed to vote digitally, which include military personnel stationed overseas or those living abroad. Depending on your circumstances, you are able to vote via fax, email, or through an online portal.
Even though online voting seems like the safest option for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, many experts are still worried about the lack of security online voting provides.
“Even though there are companies that sell products in this space, absolutely no computer security expert will tell you that they are secure, because we simply don’t know how to build secure online voting yet,” Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University, said when interviewing for CNBC.
Experts are worried that hackers, including those from other countries, could take advantage of the online voting system and manipulate the election to their liking. When parts of the United States experimented with online voting in the past, there were many security vulnerabilities that could’ve impacted the election. For example, in West Virginia they experiment with mobile online voting and it had many security vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to stop, alter, or expose a person’s vote. In Delaware, they had the same thing happen with Omniballot, their online voting system, where they had many security vulnerabilities within their voting system.
Since online voting is such a work in progress and still has many security concerns, we are most likely not going to see it during this election. However, who knows what the future holds? Maybe in 2030, we could tell a different story.
Mobile Voting With Paper Ballot Possible in LA County
LA County is making in-person voting easier with an in-person voting process called an interactive sample ballot. With this process, a registered voter can enter their name, address, and zip code then read up on the candidates that they can vote for. Then, that person selects who they would like to vote for and generates what’s called a poll pass on their mobile devices. The person can then take their digital poll pass to their local voting center, and scan it into a ballot marking device. This device marks your selections for you, then you can review it before turning it in.
This method is more secure than traditional online voting since your personal information isn’t stored once you generate your poll pass. Your selections also remain private and stored only in the QR code generated for you. If you still feel like this method isn’t for you, LA County is still doing vote by mail and traditional in-person voting at poll centers.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You During the Presidential Election 2020!
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