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Majority of European Countries Ban Mail-in Voting Due to Voter Fraud. The US Should Too.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The coronavirus pandemic upended the way the U.S. had previously conducted elections almost overnight, with dozens of states changing their mail-in voting procedures. Even without the risk of fraud, the inherent flaws already baked into the election system would only be magnified, True the Vote founder and president Catherine Engelbrecht told me in September, leading to what she predicted would be a "dumpster fire" of an election.

Even before knowing the official election results—after the recounts and the litigation, we already know Engelbrecht was right. Anecdotally, I’ve been hearing that the questions surrounding this election are turning people off from voting ever again.

Republicans, too, are warning that without election integrity reforms, the chances a future GOP presidential candidate wins an election are approaching zero.

To restore the integrity of elections, mail-in ballots ought to be done away with, or at the very least, severely curtailed. This, apparently, is something many developed nations have already figured out.

"Liberals and progressives often try to model the U.S. on Western European countries, but you never hear them arguing that we should adopt their voting rules," John Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, wrote in August. "There is a reason for that. Banning mail-in voting or requiring people to use photo IDs to obtain a mail-in ballot is quite common in developed countries, especially in Europe."

The CPRC compiled a database with its findings. Here's the summary, according to Lott:

Besides the United States, there are 36 member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Forty-seven percent ban mail-in voting unless the citizen is living abroad, and 30 percent require a photo ID to obtain a mail-in ballot. Fourteen percent of the countries ban mail-in voting even for those living abroad.

In addition, some countries that allow voting by mail for some citizens living in the country don't allow it for everyone. For example, Japan and Poland have limited mail-in voting for those who have special certificates verifying that they are disabled. France has made an exception this year to its ban on mail-in ballots to those who are sick or at particular risk during the coronavirus pandemic. Poland will allow mail-in ballots for everyone for this year only.

Brazil and Russia satisfy the economic standards of the OECD, but are excluded for various political reasons. Both countries completely ban mail-in voting and require photo IDs for in-person voting.

Among the 27 countries in the European Union, 63 percent ban mail-in voting unless living abroad and another 22 percent require a photo ID to obtain a mail-in ballot. Twenty-two percent ban the practice even for those who live abroad. (Newsweek)

There are 16 countries in the rest of Europe, and they are even more restrictive. Every single one bans mail-in voting for those living in the country or require a photo ID to obtain a mail-in ballot. Sixty-three percent don't allow mail-in ballots even for citizens living outside of the country.

"If concern about vote fraud with mail-in ballots is delusional, it is a delusion that is shared by most of the world," Lott said in the report. "Even the countries that allow mail-in ballots have protections, such as government-issued photo IDs. But Americans are constantly assured even this step is completely unnecessary. Without basic precautions, our elections are on course to become the laughing stock of the developed world."


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