When it became apparent that the novel coronavirus was indeed a pandemic and quickly spreading throughout the whole of our country, we all knew it things would have to change. And since this is an election year, both for the office of president as well as many other titles, voting would be one of those necessary changes. However, if the state of Wisconsin is any indication of how those voting changes will go, I’d say we are in for very, and I mean very, bumpy road come November.
Wisconsin, like just about every other state in the US, held primary elections in the spring. But Wisconsin was the first to do so in person after the COVID-19 outbreak had hit. But because of the virus, the state offered that those who did not want to brave coming to polls in person could vote another way.
Enter mail-in voting.
Now, mail-in voting is not a new concept for pretty much any state. In fact, most offer some sort of absentee ballots to be sent out to requesting voters each year. However, it has never been done on such a large scale or in such a short amount of time before, which made the whole operation a complete and utter failure, if I do say so myself.
And to be honest, the mess of that particular election still hasn’t been completely sorted out, according to an investigation into the matter by the postal service’s Inspector General. Per the report, which was obtained by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, the most damaging problems involved ballots not arriving in time to be counted, going to the wrong place, or not even reaching the voter at all.
“The U.S. Postal Service has identified hundreds of absentee ballots for the April election that never made it to voters or couldn’t be counted because of postmark problems, a new report says. The post offices’ internal watchdog chalked the problems up to receiving outgoing absentee ballots at the last moment from election officials, inconsistent postmarking of ballots and one mail carrier’s inattention to getting absentee ballots to voters in Fox Point.”
But upon a closer examination of the report, these were only the tip of the iceberg.
As mentioned above, in Fox Point, one mail carrier delivered hundreds of blank ballots not to the voters but the County Election Officer. The report notes that the address labels on the voter cards read, “Village of Fox Point,” with the name of the particular voter underneath. This, according to the report, confused the mail carrier. But by the time the mistake was found, it was too late to redirect them to their intended recipient.
In Fox Valley, not to be confused with Fox Point, the postal service was able to track three “mail tubs” filled with ballots that (estimated around 750), while reaching the voters, didn’t do so in time to matter. Because of the vast number of ballots and, therefore, increased workload for postal workers, a third-party vendor was used to transport some of the ballots. And these did not make it back to the local post offices for delivery until around 6 pm on the night before the election.
Only after a closer inspection, the 750 mistimed ballots turned into a number closer to 1,600.
Milwaukee had similar issues. The IG’s report noted that a “significant” number of ballots were not only not received by voters through the mail, but, in fact, were never even printed. Apparently, a “computer glitch” occurred at the Board of Elections, causing hundreds of voters to continue waiting for a ballot that never came.
And these weren’t the only problems. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reported, “The 17-page report by the postal service’s inspector general accounts for some but not all of the problems that marred voting for the April election for state Supreme Court.” And they added, “Nearly 1 million people turned to mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
This is just one state and one primary. Can imagine what the results will be like when this is multiplied by 50, with some states dwarfing Wisconsin’s population? And don’t even get me started on the many possibilities of voter fraud.
Talk about chaos.
It has been our nation’s prayer that COVID-19 would soon pass, allowing our lives to continue as usual, including our process of voting. However, as more and more case numbers are confirmed nationwide, it is hard to imagine that happening before November, if ever, leaving us minimal options and, as I mentioned before, a very bumpy road.