In 2018, 25% of Americans who voted, voted by mail. In 2020, these numbers are projected to be even higher with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging in the US. But the use of mail ballots in the November 2020 presidential election has become a point of contestation. President Trump has argued on Twitter that mail in ballots should not be used in the presidential election. Others claim mail-in voting is secure and increases turn-out and fear Trump's position is part of a longer game to discredit the election results.
No, mail-in ballots should not be banned in the 2020 US Presidential elections.Show moreShow less
Proponents of mail in ballots often cite voter safety and increased turnout. They claim voting-by-mail is necessary to give everyone a voice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For both state and federal governments as well as for individual voters, mail-in voting saves money. For governments, the infrastructure set-up is quickly amortised over time. For individuals, mail-in ballots mean no time off, or childcare costs.
Colorado spent 40 percent less per vote in 2014 by going to a majority mail-in voting system. Colorado spent about $10 per vote in 2014, compared to nearly $16 per vote in 2008 by eliminating assigned polling places and replacing them with county polling centers where any voter could return a ballot. Further, a study by the Pew Research Center estimated that the state could cut costs down by $1.05 per registered vote by mailing ballots to all registered voters. These cost-cutting measures could save the state $5 million over two fiscal years, while only requiring a $1.5 million investment in the same time frame. In California’s Orange County, an overhaul of the voting system to support a vote-by-mail cost the county $11.2 million, around one-fourth of the cost of overhauling existing voting equipment. These studies in Colorado and California demonstrate how mail-in voting saves costs.
Mail-in voting is also not expensive to the voter. The United States Postal Service has a mandate to deliver all ballots regardless of postage. Mail-in voting saves voters' time as well since voters do not have to drive to polling locations and wait in lines. The US government should not ban mail-in ballots for the 2020 election because mail-in ballots are a cost-efficient, accessible method for voting.
Mail-in voting systems require a drastic overhaul of the voting system as we know it. This overhaul could force a gigantic investment by states into a system they may have just revised. Also, in a time where money is tight due to a global pandemic, Congress might be less likely to give out the estimated $4 billion projected to make mail-in elections feasible.