Not only absentee ballots in Virginia but also many other states are becoming a trend in America. More and more voters are requesting the use of absentee ballots to avoid the risks of COVID-19.
This article will explore the situation of absentee ballots in Virginia and will bring light to the reasons behind the invalidation of half a million absentee ballots.
With the mounting threat of COVID-19, the United States is considering the option of mail-in ballots in the presidential elections that are to be conducted in November.
The mail-in ballots help reduce the risk of virus spread, as every voter receives his or her ballot through the mail, and can send it back also through the mail after signing it. Despite this available option, many states are reluctant to use mail-in ballots, due to the anticipated inability of the US postal services to handle and manage such a massive workload.
Absentee ballots by mail are another process in which voters could request to vote by mail while absent from home by applying for it on their home state election website.
However, some individuals, including officers who are on active military duty, people going through illness, or those who reside outside the country, automatically receive an absentee ballot by mail.
There is also an option to request an absentee ballot for a non-excuse absentee ballot, where a person can request an absentee ballot without any having any special excuse or situation. One example might be someone who will be traveling out of state on election day.
Absentee Ballots in Virginia
Absentee ballots have never been this popular in Virginia as they are these days. The number of Virginia voters requesting absentee ballots has already surpassed the 2016 total and is still growing.
According to the Virginia Department of Elections, more than forty-five thousand voters requested an absentee ballot by mail in Northern Virginia’s EighthCongressional District. In the Seventh district, twenty-two thousand applied, and in Virginia Beach area, more than twenty thousand voters applied online for absentee voting using election websites.
Please note that Virginia voters are no longer required to submit a state-approved reason for absentee voting. The law has been amended due to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.
Additionally, Virginia voters can also vote in person, starting 45 days before election day. Mail-ballot option is also available, which will be sent in mid-September to those who have requested it.
The Catastrophe of Absentee Ballots for Virginia
President Donald Trump has repeatedly been stating that mail-in ballots will be a catastrophe. Well, we are not yet sure about that, but what we are sure about is that absentee ballots have surely been a catastrophe.
In New York State, everyone out of five ballots was invalidated as a result of several reasons. The situation in Virginia also resulted in a catastrophe, but for a different matter.
Half a million faulty absentee ballots in Virginia were sent to those who are registered to vote but also to those who are not. Some ballots bearing the names of pets and even the dead were also sent. The invalid ballots were sent to counties that include:
- Fairfax City and Fairfax County
- Franklin City and Franklin County
- Richmond City and Richmond County
- Roanoke City and Roanoke County
The ballots were sent by a non-profit group under the name of The Center for Voter Information. The officer of the elections claims that the issue occurred due to the same name of county and city, and they are prepared to do whatever they can to correct their mistake.
This was a printing mistake that occurred due to an incorrect spreadsheet.
The groups like The Center for Voter Information depend on the voter registration database, which implies that the data in the database was outdated and not updated, which ultimately led to this catastrophe.
In 2018, the Nevada election officer claimed that sixty-three thousand names in the voter registration database were found to be inactive, which also strengthens the case against the voter registration database.
The United States is looking forward to employing the option of mail-in ballots to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
But the failure of the Postal Services and state election offices in absentee ballots suggest that Trump was right in saying that this option is not a reliable one, as is proved by the catastrophe of absentee ballots for Virginia.
The system is flawed and not prepared to manage such a large job. Whatever the problem is, both voters and candidates are getting confused and skeptical over the presidential elections due in November.
This is a threat to American democracy as more and more candidates are rejecting the election results due to invalidation of votes and several other reasons.
This is ultimately leading towards a political crisis that will grip America after the election.
Rigging is a very rare occasion in America.
Candidates are claiming these failures are being done on purpose for personal and political gain.
There are also chances that the losing party will reject the election results, and that would cause a political crisis, which at the moment can prove to be very dangerous for America.