The absentee ballots in New York and some other states are going to create a big crisis in November election due to COVID-19. What do you think?
The American elections are just two months away, and the rising tide of COVID-19 is making things more complicated with each passing day. The elections held in New York State for Democratic race on June 23rd proved to be a nightmare for the election officials. Even after two months since the primary date, the state board of elections is still unable to issue the final result.
This chaos is a warning for November that the system is not prepared to handle such a massive job. So many are predicting the crisis of absentee ballots in New York and some other states.
On Election Day, New York City witnessed a record number of votes by absentee ballots. The requests for absentee ballots in New York reached a record level.
Hundreds of thousands of voters cast their vote by absentee ballots, but there were no additional resources applied toward counting them.
A document from the state board of elections shows that around twenty percent of votes from absentee ballots were rejected for several reasons.
However, the document was an initial staff review, and the final decision that will be taken by the official authorities is still pending.
The article will explore the reasons behind the mismanagement of absentee ballots in New York, while also shedding light on issues of absentee ballots from prisoners.
Why did the process of absentee ballots in New York fail?
Due to the present spread of coronavirus, a considerable number of voters in New York State requested an absentee ballot application so that they could vote without having to go to the polling stations on June 23rd.
According to sources, nearly 400,000 voters cast their votes through absentee ballots in New York. Out of these 400,000 ballots, one in five was invalidated.
The reasons for invalidation primarily lie in the postal service and the state board of elections. A considerable number of these votes arrived later than the due date.
Postal services were unable to manage this huge volume of deliveries, which is an alarming situation, as many states are considering the option of mail-in ballots for the presidential race in November.
Failure to sign the inner envelope by the voters, and the outer envelope from the post office is also termed as reasons for the rejection of absentee ballots.
Many voters also complained that they received their ballots only one or two days before Election Day, and some after the date had passed.
This vast number of invalidated ballots is becoming a nightmare for the state board of elections.
Many candidates have filed lawsuits against the election officials and board. The chaos caused by the absentee ballots in New York has also been termed as “designed negligence.”
Many candidates are saying that this mismanagement was done on purpose to rig the elections. This will lead to a crisis even after the elections.
Many candidates who may lose will blame the election board for rejecting the results.
A critical point to be considered in this scenario is that if there were a small number of invalidated ballots, the blame could fall upon the voters. But, with this scale, most will hold the state board of elections as the culprit.
Absentee Ballots for Prisoners
Many of us will be surprised to know that prisoners are also eligible to vote. We do not know this because we have never heard of it, and many prisoners do not know their voting rights, which saves a lot of tension for jail authorities.
Many Americans detained in jails awaiting trial are eligible to vote, but do not get the chance to exercise this right.
Many inmates who have committed an offense other than a felony are eligible to vote. These include those confined based on jury actions, but are still awaiting final grand jury action are eligible to vote.
These inmates are confined in prison after a conviction from a jury, but they have appealed the conviction and are still waiting for the grand jury to give a final conviction for the offense.
Many states have made sure that 2020 will be the year when the prisoners will finally get their right to vote. The Capital of the US, Washington, DC, is working to allow felons to vote while they are detained in jail awaiting trial.
These federal inmates could request an absentee ballot application. Upon completion of the application, the absentee ballots are sent to the jail address, from where the inmates could sign them and return them.
However, this facility will not be granted to all the prisoners in the country. Many activists have been outspoken about the issue, as they think this largely affects people of color.
About 48% of inmates in American jails are Black-Americans and Latinos who, therefore, are unable to cast their votes and chose a president and senator to represent them. This shows a huge flaw in American democracy.
In a nutshell
The spread of COVID-19 has bought forward many flaws in America. While the health system is failing, the postal services and State Board of Elections also joined the problem with the mismanagement of absentee ballots in New York.
Presidential polls due in November are likely to end with the same chaos and, for the first time in the history of America, the election results may get delayed for weeks or even months.
Though there is a record of recounting votes in Florida after the election day in the year of 2000. It was in the United States presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush.
Another flaw that came into the spotlight this year was the absentee ballots of inmates. Many inmates hold the right to vote but are not granted because of administrative and bureaucratic flaws. Because COVID-19 is a significant threat to American democracy as the election boards are considering mail-in ballots for the presidential election but are not prepared to handle such a job.