Have you heard this one before? “I received two absentee ballots in the mail!” someone exclaims. “Election fraud!”
“I got three,” another voter cries. “This means I can vote three times! Election fraud!”
They are likely confusing the absentee ballot application with the ballot itself. You may receive multiple absentee ballot applications. Perhaps the League of Women Voters in your state sends you an application for your convenience. Or the VFW does the same thing. So don’t get your shorts in a bundle thinking you are being asked to vote twice. Two organizations are making it easy for you to request an absentee ballot.
No matter how many applications you fill out and return, your election office will only send you ONE ballot. They keep excellent records, so if they receive a second application from you, they’ll know they’ve already sent you the ballot. Some states actually assign a bar code to your specific ballot.
When you send your completed ballot back, a team of poll workers assigned to absentee ballots will sit down together (at least one Republican and one Democrat) and open your ballot. They will make sure all the information matches. They will make sure your signatures match. They will make sure your vote is clearly marked.
Did you make a slash instead of filling in the oval? Oops. Now the tabulator won’t record your vote. To make sure your vote is counted, a Republican and a Democrat will look at your ballot, agree that you meant that slash to be your vote, then together make the appropriate mark.
One unfortunate county recently designed a ballot so poorly that the absentee ballot was folded right over an oval. This darkened fold looked like a filled-in oval to the tabulator, so it recorded the fold as the vote! Yikes. Election officials of BOTH PARTIES, together, had to redo each ballot so the correct vote would be read by the tabulator. They didn’t change any votes while doing this because both parties were right there, and would never allow it. Trust your neighbors. They are your poll workers.
Imagine that someone wants to spread doubt about election integrity. They could post a video of that county’s election officials performing a necessary and entirely legal task, but instead claim the workers were changing the ballots to favor one candidate. That’s how people spread rumors about election fraud.
Uff da. Makes me grind me teeth at night to think of all the lies being told.