Postal Voting – The Evidence

With the election looming it is worth mulling things over. We should not need to do this, but there exists a narrative that declares that fraud on a grand scale is happening. Those making such claims sometimes quote supposed examples that verify the claim. So what do we actually know with a high degree of confidence and is not simply political lies?

Incidentally, least you wonder, his claims are not new. He has been banging this drum for many years and was saying exactly the same back in 2016 ..

How many cases of actual electoral Fraud have there been?

Rather obviously Trump has been making the claim, and never ever offers any credible evidence for the claim. He cites examples that turn out to not be what he claims (well yes, paint me unsurprised)

Electoral fraud in the US is very rare. It has happened. For example in the 2018 North Carolina primary was re-run because of an issue. A consultant for the Republican candidate tampered with voting papers.

There has in the past been deep and detailed analysis conducted, and on that basis credible subject matter experts push back on the Trump claims as literal “Fake News” …

For context of the above, The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute in New York City. They have published the details of their comprehensive analysis online.

What does the Federal Election Commission say?

“There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud.”

Ellen Weintraub, head of the Election Commission

What about the examples Trump and others cite?

“In Virginia, 500,000 applications were made that were false.”

Trump recently made this claim at a Rally in Mid Oct

It was not fraud, it was a printing error. The applications, to apply for an absentee ballot form, were sent out with the wrong return address. It was quickly detected and fixed.

President Trump tweeted:: “In Ohio, 50,000 ballots were wrong, fraudulent – 50,000.”. Nope, this is a lie, it was once again simply a mistake that has now been corrected. Everybody who got the wrong ballot has now received a corrected one.

There is no grand conspiracy in play. people make mistakes, these are detected and are addressed. Several other examples include these …

  • In New York, nearly 100,000 ballots are being resent to voters after some names and addresses were printed incorrectly.
  • In Michigan about 400 postal ballots listed the wrong running mate for President Trump – the Libertarian Party’s Jeremy Cohen instead of Mike Pence. President Trump claimed in September this had been deliberate. But the Michigan secretary of state said it had been an error and “impacted voters immediately received an accurate ballot and guidance to ensure their vote counts”.

Is Postal Voting Really Safe?

Yes, there are checks in place.  Authorities check that ballots have come from voters’ registered address and they require signatures on envelopes

See here for details and also here.

What will happen on Election day?

It is highly probable that Trump will take an early lead.


Because substantially more Democrats than Republicans have requested absentee ballots, and returned them. We know this because Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida, has compiled data from the 18 states that have made this information available.

What is obvious is that verifying and counting postal ballots takes time, hence those numbers will not come up first.

In other words, due to the huge increase in postal ballots and the time it takes to carefully verify each one, what is coming up is not “election day” but rather “election week”, or perhaps even “election weeks” because some states will not begin to count postal ballots until Nov 3.

It will indeed be an “interesting” week.

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