Why Americans Should Feel Safe and Confident Casting Absentee Ballots

A man and woman submit their ballots into a drop box
A ballot drop box at the Supervisor of Elections office on election day during the 2020 Primary Election on August 18, 2020 in Palm Beach, Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch.

Voters should rest assured that there are systems in place to ensure that all votes are counted.

Due to the on-going health threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that Americans from every race and ethnicity, particularly those concerned about their health, are able to vote by absentee or mail ballot to ensure their participation and make them feel safe.  

This is critically important among communities of color - where historically – there has been a distrust factor among Black, Latino and other minority voters’ ability to cast a ballot safely and without unnecessary physical and language barriers.

A Voting Rights Lab/Voting Rights Action survey from April-May 2020 showed that Black voters have concerns about their ballot not arriving to their home, getting lost when they return it, and there being issues with the counting of their ballots by election officials.

However, in-person voting, despite the possibility of long lines, does not raise these concerns for Black voters, in part because they are able to see their cast ballot processed. 

While these concerns are justifiable given troubling news stories recently, voters should rest assured that there are systems in place to ensure that all votes are counted.

Integrity of Vote-by-Mail

Overlapping security measures are in place to ensure the integrity of the election. The only voters who can vote by absentee or mail ballots are eligible citizens who provided their social security number or a valid form of identification to election officials.

Ballot drop boxes are a safe and secure way for voters to return their ballots. Drop boxes have been used successfully all over the U.S., in states like Oregon and Washington, for years.

In fact, 34 states, including some of the reddest and bluest states, already allow any registered voter to vote by mail because it has been proven to be safe and secure, and there are ballot tracking procedures that allow voters to know the status of their ballot at any time. Another security measure is 24-hour surveillance to ensure they are safe.

Additionally, the U.S. Postal Service is a trusted institution that enjoys a 91% favorable rating.

Multiple Options for Voting

Voters who request or are sent their ballot in the mail still have multiple options for voting. Voters can put their ballots in secure drop-off locations placed throughout the community, take them to early vote centers, take them to polling places on Election Day, or they can go vote in-person at their polling place.

Vote by Mail is Tried and True

Voters should not have to choose between their health and their vote. Absentee ballots or vote-by-mail is a safe and secure method of voting, and it has been tested in most states already. States are making accommodations so that voters can have a range of options that make voting safe and convenient.

Our most important right as Americans is the right to vote and America should ensure that every eligible citizen, no matter what race or ethnicity, has a convenient way to vote in the election and have their vote counted.

Hear two local election officials explain how voting by mail works, along with what measures are in place to ensure the process is secure:

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content. Follow @cgfromdc on Twitter