Accuracy in Media

With the coronavirus pandemic’s end nowhere in sight, left-leaning advocates have pushed for the United States to adopt a vote-by-mail option for the upcoming 2020 presidential elections this fall. NowThis News joined the chorus of pro-vote-by-mail advocates, but it did not fairly address potential problems facing states that have not done vote-by-mail before.

The website headlined its concerns, “Michelle Obama Demands Safer Voting Options, Pushes for Vote-By-Mail,” but it ignored concerns of voter fraud, logistical, and infrastructure capacities throughout the United States.

The former first lady announced her support for vote-by-mail efforts nationwide due to the pandemic, which NowThis News extensively quoted. Michelle Obama said that vote-by-mail makes democracy “more accessible” while protecting their health.

But NowThis News did not cite any opposing sources of vote-by-mail expansion. For example, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, and Washington have voted by mail for years and therefore, its voters would be accustomed to how to vote-by-mail. However, at least half of the states in the country have not voted by mail in recent years.

Voting by mail requires significant logistics coordination and pre-existing vote-by-mail infrastructure. Politico reported that election experts warned that “an abrupt adoption of vote-by-mail systems in states that aren’t sufficiently prepared would introduce new risks and avenues for disruption.” “The results, they say, could bring widespread confusion or even disenfranchise voters,” Politico said.

There are also legal hurdles to overcome in a short period of time, such as changing election laws to permit more time to process mailed ballots. Mailed ballots take longer to process and they require more manpower to do so. Mailed ballots also require verification, which could be done automatically through software or manually depending on the state’s capabilities.

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