On Elections, beware of good intentions with bad consequences.
Harris County sent applications for ballot-by-mail to all residents age 65 or older, regardless of whether they had requested one. While its intentions might have been to keep senior citizens safe, its actions will cause more harm than good. An unsolicited ballot in the mailbox could confuse seniors and increase opportunities for vote harvesters to do their devious work.
The move comes amid much controversy regarding the rules for voting by mail. Harris County is one of several seeking to ignore those rules and let anyone who wishes to vote absentee. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo sent a ballot application to all voters, declaring it “Democracy signed, sealed, delivered.” This she did notwithstanding consecutive court rulings supporting the Texas Attorney General’s writ of mandamus in following existing election law.
This could end disastrously for Texas, as it has elsewhere. In Maryland, a botched expansion of vote by mail resulted in lost ballots and ballots that mysteriously “appeared.” These problems, coupled with delays in ballot delivery and processing, caused the Lt. Governor to call on the State Board of Elections Administrator to resign.
The biggest risk here is voter confusion. Many seniors in Harris County will wonder why they’re receiving a ballot in their mailbox, when they didn’t request one. Many will wonder if it’s an error—or a new government mandate. Those who choose to vote in person may not be aware that to do so, they must surrender the mail-in ballot if they request one.
The fact is that voting by mail is more prone to error and harder to correct than voting in person.
Expanding voting by mail universally, only months before the November general election, ramps up those risks. Rice University’s Bob Stein says it could be “a disaster.” The states have gone to all-mail-in voting have done so over time. It takes years to scale up the voting systems—especially for larger counties, as Secretary of State for Washington State Kim Wyman has said.
With a population of 4.35 million, Harris County is certainly asking for trouble.
Another risk is voter fraud. Sending ballots to unverified addresses is a recipe for ballot fraud, because there will be thousands of absentee ballots arriving with no corresponding voter at the home. People can move or die, and election cheaters take license to register anyone whom they can capture information from. Once a mail in ballot application has been sent out, it can be intercepted and used by vote harvesters.
Harris County has a history of ballot fraud. Shocking evidence compiled by a citizen from that county, including audio of how votes are harvested, would certainly suggest fraudulent activity with mail-in ballots is more common than expected. Why would Harris county tempt fate by rushing to send out large amounts of ballots despite not being prepared to count, verify, and educate voters on all the related rules?
As a New Jersey NAACP leader notes, the opportunity for vote corruption disenfranchises all voters. In Paterson, New Jersey, a recent election was so corrupted by fraud that even its winners called for the election to be thrown out.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that your right to vote “means nothing if your vote doesn’t count.”
Judge James Ho added, “it won’t count if it’s cancelled by a fraudulent vote—as the Supreme Court has made clear in case after case.”
In a rush to send ballots out to every senior citizen, Harris County may be disenfranchising them by introducing confusion and risk for fraud into the electoral system.