Take Some Deep Breaths and Prepare to Wait for Election ResultsRoundup
tags: elections, Voting
Ms. Weintraub is a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. Dr. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton.
Americans have come to expect fast and accurate results on election night, ever since The Associated Press started gathering tallies by telegraph in 1848. But the switch to absentee ballots this year could slow things down so it takes a week or more to make accurate calls in some major elections — including, perhaps, the presidency. And we’ve got to prepare for that.
America’s elections administrators have a new imperative amid the coronavirus: Making it safe for voters to cast their ballots. Many more people than usual will seek to vote from home, whether states choose to encourage that or not.
Voting by mail works. The states that have all-mail balloting — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — count up their ballots relatively fast and conduct elections that are accurate, accessible, safe and secure. Even the Heritage Foundation’s voter-fraud database contains only 13 instances of absentee voter fraud — indeed, only 44 instances of any kind of voter fraud — across those five states.
Other states scrambling to handle enormous numbers of absentee ballots can follow their lead. They need to start now to purchase necessary equipment and supplies and to begin educating their voters and staff on how the system will work. And election administrators will need to plan for sufficient time and space for safe, in-person voting for those who choose that option. This is urgent, and Congress should assist by providing the necessary funding.
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