I didn’t get to vote in the primaries this year. Even though I took all the right steps such as requesting my absentee ballot as early as possible, calling my county’s election office every week to check on its status, double-checking that I filled out the request properly, and opening a case with U.S. Postal Service after it was mailed, my ballot never arrived in my mailbox.
At the time, I was too far outside of the county to travel home and vote, so I had to let it go. It was frustrating and disappointing to find that the same government that I was trying to have a say in took away part of my political voice.
My experience with absentee voting is common. Many people around the United States face challenges when requesting and sending ballots during an election. According to a report released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), millions of ballots requested or sent by mail were lost in 2016; unaccounted for and gone without a trace. Additionally, The Public Interest Legal Foundation found through these EAC reports that since 2012, “32 million mail ballots effectively disappeared, went to the wrong house, or were rejected.”
This experience is at no fault of the current executive branch and leadership, but a longstanding example of USPS’s failures. In addition to the large and startling total figure of missing ballots since 2012, USPS lost 28.3 million of those same disappeared ballots.
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While many on the left have alleged that President Trump, his staff, and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are in cahoots this year to conspire against the American people by removing mailboxes and slowing mail processes right before the election, it is clear that they are grasping for straws to grant some political disadvantages.
For years, USPS has been on the decline. Its revenue in the last ten years has been shrinking drastically because people are sending fewer letters. Hundred of mailboxes were removed when President Barack Obama was in office, first-class mail volumes have been steadily declining in the last 20 years, USPS’s budget deficit continues to grow, and current USPS leadership has been forced to push back reforms meant to create sustainability for the organization until after the election due to public distrust.
It is clear that USPS has long been on the journey to decreasing viability. Lack of trust in USPS to deliver your ballot is obviously warranted.
Because of the USPS’s steady decline combined with basic human error, mail-in ballots are completely unreliable. They put the fate of American individuals’ opinions in the hands of a bureaucratic organization that consistently fails in small services like delivering packages and selling stamps.
Because of the USPS’s shortcomings, make a plan to vote in person in November. Not only is voting in person recommended for the security of your vote, but you can do it safely during the pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently noted that “there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote in person or otherwise,” as long as the correct procedures such as social distancing and wearing a mask are followed. President Trump also echoed Fauci’s attitudes on Twitter, adding that “IF YOU CAN PROTEST IN PERSON, YOU CAN VOTE IN PERSON!.”
IF YOU CAN PROTEST IN PERSON, YOU CAN VOTE IN PERSON!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2020
Mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 should not be the reason your vote isn’t counted. If anything, much of the government mandates and required shutdowns during the pandemic should make you want to exercise your freedom to vote even more.
After my experience, I don’t trust my local elections office or USPS with my ballot. This year, I’ve already made plans to go to a polling station in November to ensure that my vote will actually be received and worth something more than a statistic cited by someone else’s article. Physically going to the polls is the most sure-fire way I know that my vote will be counted.
Do what you need to do to feel safe, but don’t trust the bureaucracy to take care of you if you decide to vote by mail. There are many ways to protect yourself against the virus, but there are fewer ways that you can demonstratively protect your freedom and livelihood if your vote gets lost in the mail.