Election Integrity Is Being Called Into Question In States Where All Elections Are Conducted By Mail

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Posted: Oct 19, 2020 11:25 PM
Election Integrity Is Being Called Into Question In States Where All Elections Are Conducted By Mail

Source: AP Photo/Joe Skipper

Since the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, Democrats have been quick to call for state election officials to move the November election to entirely voting by mail. Republicans have repeatedly questioned the decision, citing a lack of tested policies and procedures, like if a person's ballot is counted only once, even if they vote in-person and again by mail. But now an even bigger issue has arisen: the validity of online voter portals.

Both Oregon and Washington State hold all of their elections by mail, meaning everyone who is registered to vote automatically received a ballot in the mail. In theory, they should have tested methods for making sure election integrity is taking place, whether it be from the ballot request form to how each ballot is counted.

According to a report from The Epoch Times, both states have had issues with election security, particularly with their online voter portal. 

In Washington State, a person's name and date of birth – both of which are public record or easily obtainable online – are used to log into the online portal. Once that information is put into the system, a voter's information, including the address their ballots are mailed to and their ballot status, are on display. The portal is also where voters can request a new ballot by printing out a request form that they mail back. Election officials say the form's signature is compared to the signature they have on file, which is how they weed out frauds. The most alarming aspect, however, is that the page issues a warning. “If you continue, a ballot previously mailed to you will be cancelled," meaning a person could fraudulently cancel a real ballot that was previously mailed.

Kylee Zabel, the spokesman for Washington's secretary of state, said in that situation a ballot wouldn't be invalidated or canceled. It'd merely be "put on hold." 

“The Office of the Secretary of State and county elections offices, with the collaboration of state and federal partners and private-sector experts, have instituted multiple levels of security over the entire vote-by-mail process, including both electronic and manual measures to maintain the integrity of the election,” Zabel told The Epoch Times. “The online portal is monitored 24/7 to detect and prevent unusual activity, and manual backend processes protect against fraudulent attempts.”

Oregon's online portal is semi-similar, with a name and date of birth being the only requirement to login. An Oregonian can print out a ballot from the portal, fill it out and mail it back in. The link is supposed to be used only for those who are in the military, overseas, or are disable. There's nothing, however, preventing anyone from using that link.

Oregon secretary of state spokesperson Andrea Chiapella said voters can fill their ballot out online but they still must print and mail it, meaning no one is voting online.

“They still must return the ballot with the proper identifying information, including their signature, which will be compared against the voter’s signature in the voter registration file before being accepted to count,” Chiapella told The Epoch Times.

Although Oregon and Washington State have conducted voting by mail for years, a handful of states, including Nevada and California, have moved to automatically mailing out ballots for the November election. It's unknown whether or not those states will permanently move to voting by mail.