Voting By Mail Is Secure, But It Has A Seriously Low-Tech Downside: Your Signature

from Fast Company

By now you’ve thought seriously about voting by mail. You’ve seen the long lines of angry and/or nervous and/or bored mask-wearing people outside of polling places, as in Milwaukee during the primaries, and you don’t want that to be you. What you might not realize is that while voting by mail is widely considered to be secure, it’s still a clunky, low-tech process governed by decades-old laws. And whether or not your vote is counted could easily come down to the way you sign your ballot.

One of the main reasons absentee ballots get rejected is that the signature you write on them doesn’t match with the signature the state has on file for you. That determination, it turns out, isn’t made by handwriting experts or fancy computer vision algorithms, but rather by untrained (and often harried) election workers.

And the deck is stacked against those people anyway. That’s because the two signatures they’re asked to match were created in very different ways and at very different times.

When the election worker receives your mail-in ballot, they match the signature on it with a signature on file, which is usually pulled from DMV records. At the DMV, you almost always write your signature using a pen stylus on a screen.

More here.

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33 Comments

  1. Mail in ballots are proven in the article to not be as complicated as everyone makes it seem, it has to do with your handwriting and the correlation to your signature on your license. What stands out is how election workers looking over the ballot decides the validity of the persons signature and if it does not look the same, they send the ballot back. Shocking enough, the states do not have to notify the public if the ballot has been rejected, they simply putting it into a pile. This pile when doing preliminary elections in Texas was “10 percent” full of false signatures. The idea brought up by Cleaver is one that I did not hear of before now, which is creating a database that uses your social security to get into your vote and have it go straight to election office. In my opinion I agree with Clever because every person in The United States has a specific number to their name and it eliminates the idea of a fraudulent signature. Every signature transforms from the time you are 15 to 21 and to base off your vote off your signature is not fair to the public that has a right to vote. The only problem I see with Cleavers idea is not everyone has the technology handy to place a vote via technology, which leads people back to having to use the mail. Hand written signatures has to make a move out of our election system which Cleaver and I agree upon because a right to be heard and have a say on who should go where can not be based on how you write with a ballpoint pen compared to a DMV pin pad.
    Every election has a barcode that identifies the voter through mail so why is this added protection needed? From what I see in the article, Nevada had the biggest issue with not notifying 6,700 voters of rejection which is not ethical from the state. If the states had a way of telling the person that their vote was not valid then the problem would be solved easier. Every state seems to be hiding why they do not notify the people and that is what concerns me on top of the mismatching of signatures. Ultimately people that prefer to mail in their ballots should be accounted for just as much as people that go to the booths on voting day. Voting needs to be make technological improvements soon because as society turns to technology the government should be growing with that idea in more ways than one.

    • November 3rd, 2020 is a very important day in American history. It is the day that determines the type of country we live in for the next four years. Every four years, U.S citizens gather at polling stations around the country and vote for who their next leader is going to be. But this year, our voting process will be different. Due to the current global pandemic, many states have proposed Mail-In Voting as a safer way to vote this election. Since the day Mail-In Voting was introduced, it has been a very controversial topic among people. There are many concerns that it is not a secure method to vote and that it will be skewed by a certain political party.
      In the article “Voting by mail is secure, but it has a seriously low-tech downside: your signature” by Mark Sullivan, it discusses the history of Mail-In Voting and why some votes have been rejected. When filling out a mail-in ballot, you have to sign your signature in order for it to count. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that your signature on your ballot needs to match the signature on your driver’s license. This can be a problem because when you sign for your driver’s license, it is on a digital pad and not with a pen and paper. “A recent study of the 2020 Florida primary by Stanford and MIT researchers showed that younger and minority voters were more likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected. Only 1.3% of the total number of mailed ballots were rejected in the election, yet 3.56% ballots cast by 18-to-29-year-olds went uncounted, and were rejected, and 2.32% of Black voters’ mailed ballots were not counted.”
      As you can see, the percentage of mail-in ballots that were rejected in Florida’s primary was only 1.3%. This very small percentage of rejection can be completely eliminated if all voters were told to copy the signature on their driver’s license. These results show that Mail-In Voting is actually very secure, and people should not be worried about a skewed election. In a time of great divide in our country, I think it will be comforting for people to know that their vote will matter. I also believe that the people should be given the choice on whether they want to vote at a polling station or through mail-in ballots. This is a huge decision for most people and they should be given the option to vote in the way that they are most comfortable with.

  2. Being a student at Seton Hall but a resident of New York State, how I was going to vote this year was something that worried me deeply. I was not sure if I could just submit an absentee ballot or if I would go home for the day just so I could wait in line to vote. However, with everything in the news recently about mailboxes having locks on them or being removed from neighborhoods, I was already skeptical about mailing in my ballot. I was not old enough to vote during the last election so this would be my first time, and with the current political atmosphere bothering me on the daily, I want to make sure my vote is going to count.
    I got my license when I was sixteen years old and if you were to ask me right now what my signature looked like I could not tell you – it probably would not even be remotely close. Just because a signature is not exactly the same as the ones they have on file, in my opinion, does not seem like it should warrant disregarding it all together. Someone could have been signing it and the doorbell rang so their hand flinched, they could have gotten older, and therefore, their hand has started to shake – just a couple of the many factors that could impact why someone may not write like they were when they were a teenager. I genuinely do not understand why the only basis for disregarding a ballot is the signature since the article states “The ballot’s return envelope contains a bar code that election officials match to a voter’s record in the voter file.” With all of the technological developments since the last election I do not understand why a simple barcode cannot be scanned if it means more votes would actually be counted. The only fault I can think of with that method is if older people are working there and they have no idea how to use the technology. I am trying to imagine what the popular vote would have actually looked like if everyone’s vote actually counted. We would most likely have a different president right now.
    In my opinion, Cleaver’s idea seems like a no-brainer. Every U.S. citizen has a social security number and they are all unique – where is the downside? I have to type I the last four digits of my social security number just to see how much money I have in the bank…but no one can figure this out on a larger scale so we can properly elect the leader of the free world? It makes no sense to me. The other alternative to mailing in ballots, the electronic signatures, sound like they would definitely provide more accurate (and faster) results than our method now. The poll workers now would have to flip through all ballots manually which could take a long time, especially with the expected high number of mail-in ballots due to COVID. I also do not understand why electronic signatures would be so difficult for everyone to approve. Everything is done electronically now, whether it be payment in a grocery store, paying the bills, or using a face scanner to authorize a payment. In my opinion, if we were to do a vote (this may be counter-intuitive) I believe most people would actually favor electronically voting because then they do not have to worry about whether their vote counted or not, they can see when it was submitted, and they would not have to worry about the COVID risk. According to the article it seems to me the reason why government officials are not pushing for e-signatures is because they would not receive the results they want, which completely disregards ethics.
    The ESIGN Act of 2000 “…grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all parties to a contract choose to use electronic documents and to sign them electronically.” Only 47 states adopted this uniform law, but only on the basis of filling out signatures for commerce and electronic records. Again, why can this not be done n a national scale to elect the president? Like mentioned in the article, we could simply avoid another “hanging chad” catastrophe. If this were actually implemented, it would also eradicate voter accessibility issues such as language barriers and people with physical/ mental disabilities having a hard time filling the ballot out in person, for example.

  3. The pandemic is forcing us to reevaluate all of our customs, including our most sacred, our democracy. While Anthony Fauci expressed confidence in holding safe in-person voting, it is understandable that many Americans still feel uneasy. While the two major political parties have been accusing each other of attempting to rig the election, it has raised awareness of how behind laws governing mail-in voting are.
    While the idea of using the last four numbers of your social security number is a reasonable alternative to signature matching, sloppy handwriting could still be an issue. How many people do you know write their 9s and 4s, or 7s and 1s, similarly?
    While some can edit a pdf and print a filled-out ballot, that requirement would disenfranchise voter that are younger and lower on the economic ladder. Not everyone has a printer. However, most have a cellphone.
    While the USPS has proposed a system that involves downloading an app and scanning a QR code, not everyone’s phone can download apps. I believe that dial-in voting can be a good alternative that can work for a larger percentage of the population. We all have called customer service and had to verify our identity by following the prompts of an automated messenger. We could do the same with voting.
    The only real downsides that I can identify is the possibility of someone interfering by exploiting a poorly secured connection and wireless networks struggling to manage the volume of tens of millions of Americans casting their votes on the same day. The latter concern could be addressed by 5G networks and incentives to make use of early voting.

  4. Although I am not very political myself, I am looking forward to submitting my vote this year. This will be my first vote for the next President. This is not going to be a normal vote and one of the most changed ways of voting in history. The pandemic has affected the options for voting. I live in New Jersey and the options for voting include a ballot mailed to your house or voting in person with required safety procedures. If you go in person, you must wear a mask and clean the voting area before you leave. People do not enjoy waiting in line on a hot day while wearing a mask, according to Fast Company’s blog comment. If you decide to vote at home, New Jersey will mail a ballot to you and you have to follow the instructions carefully. Interesting enough, the way you sign your ballet, whether in person or not, could determine if your vote gets counted or not. According to Fast Company, if the signature you put on the ballet does not match the signature the state has on file for you, your vote might not be counted. Although some people might see this as unfair, this is for security reasons and so nobody who is illegally living in the United States steals someone’s signature. It takes one illegal vote to change the results of the election. Although this is a secure way to make sure all righteous votes are counted, the Government should make sure they are hiring proper and qualified people for this job. According to the blog comment, the employees for this job are untrained for the job and they could easily misread a signature. They could also be lazy and just skip some votes because they do not have the patience to check each one. I feel this is highly wrong and the Government needs to take responsibility for this situation. This problem could cause rioting at the White House and many other problems on top of the problems current in the world.

  5. Mail-in ballots have recently become a contentious political issue, with minimal justification from politicians as to why. As stated in the article, mail-in ballots have been proven to be secure and not overly complicated. However, many politicians (including President Trump), argue that mail-in ballots lead to higher rates of voter fraud. While this claim has been debunked by researchers, it is significant to note that mail-in ballots do face serious challenges when it comes to voters’ signatures. The article makes it clear that mail-in ballots get rejected most often for signature issues, that is, a voter’s signature on the ballot not matching the signature on his driver’s license. Further, as the article states, this discrepancy typically occurs because the signature a voter has on their ballot is written down with a physical pen, while on their driver’s license, it is made electronically through a stylus; and according to the article, the latter only creates a loose resemblance to one’s actual signature. The unfortunate reality is that any small discrepancy can lead to the complete rejection of a ballot. An extreme example of this, as given in the article, is the Nevada case in which 6,700 votes were rejected, with the number one reason being mismatched signatures. The issue of mismatched signatures is one that appears severe in nature as it denies American citizens the freedom to perform their constitutional right of voting, yet it is an issue that can be successfully remedied in an age of advanced technology.
    One of the most compelling points made in the article is how election law is so far behind corporate America when it comes to identity verification. While corporations have worked with Congress in the past to push through legislation such as the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act and the ESIGN Act (which considers electronic signatures legally binding), elections still rely on poll workers to distinguish between two signatures. I was shocked to read that poll workers are tasked with checking voters’ signatures, instead of some form of technological verification. This flaw in the voting system seems to speak to the lack of election law protecting voters and their ballots, which is also reflected in the fact that only 19 states have laws that “require election officials to provide a website where absentee voters can check the status of their ballot” (Sullivan). These databases seem like they would be one simple step to track rejected ballots and make sure voters are able to vote, yet only nineteen states have such systems. The laws governing elections clearly rely on outdated methods for comparing and verifying voters’ identities. A suggestion brought forth by Debra Cleaver, founder of VoteAmerica, to fix this flaw is to mandate that voters verify their Social Security numbers when voting, instead of signatures. This method seems to be a much more reasonable suggestion, as Social Security numbers are confidential and unique to each voter. If the process of voting is ever going to be made less “low tech”, then significant investment needs to be made in considering how to detach from our reliance on signature verification.
    Another interesting point brought up in the article is research done by Stanford and MIT which indicates that younger and minority voters were more likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected (Sullivan). As a college student who falls into the category of being a younger voter, it is alarming that my mail-in ballot has a higher likelihood of being rejected. I recently voted in the New Jersey Primaries by mail and now I wonder if my vote could have possibly been rejected without my knowledge, especially since I tend not to have a very consistent signature. If I were to propose a solution to this issue, I think it would be prudent to have some sort of law protecting voters’ who encounter a problem with mismatched signatures, whether that be vote-tracking databases that are used in 19 states currently (Sullivan) or a system that does not rely on signatures at all. So, instead of votes being rejected and voters not being informed of the status of their ballot, there need to be protections in place to not only ensure the rights of voters to cast a ballot but also to have that ballot properly counted. Immediately, I think of aspects of Administrative Law. In terms of administrative law, there should be some protections or steps taken by agencies like the Department of Justice, State Department, or even the Federal Election Commission to ensure that votes are not being turned away for reasons as trivial as a mismatched signature. Just as the FEC was established in the 1970s to provide oversight to campaign finance, a similar independent, regulatory agency should be established to create more functional election security laws. The regulatory nature of administrative law would allow for significant reform to the flawed voting process.

  6. Reading this article honestly had me in disbelief. I know the law is the law, but sometimes it seems like the law is made to protect a certain group of people. It is might not be that a law is passed, it could be failure to update outdated laws. It is all a complex scheme to keep the oppressed oppressed, because frankly that makes the most money-sense. I had no idea about the signature situation with mail-in ballots and am outraged with it. If I did not know about it I can safely assume that the majority of US citizens are not aware of that as well. And I know this problem will not be solved for this major election. If I remember correctly, people voted for the presidential election by mail during World War II. If that was the last time the vote by mail happened throughout the whole country, obviously the system has to be adjusted. But I know it will not, without getting political, because the ones in charge of the country teeter the lines between proud American and fascism. The ones that are expected to utilize the vote by mail system are ones that are conscience about public health and the COVID-19 pandemic. That is the reason for mail in ballots, so voting centers, usually run by volunteer elderly citizens (high risk), do not become breeding grounds for COVID-19. The ones in charge of the country tell its followers lies, like any politician for that fact, but these lies are making those supporters develop hatred and divide towards certain things without thinking for themselves and looking at both sides. I have nothing against how people think and their opinions, but when it is an opinion that has been spoon-fed by the leaders of the country, I do not believe that opinion is valid. One person is scared of being removed from office, so he/she will twist the facts so his/her supporters think vote by mail is a scam, and that you must go in person (LIKE THAT SYSTEM IS NOT OUTDATED/OPEN TO FRAUD ((RUSSIA 2016)) ASWELL). As many citizens will not buy the twisted truths, the administration must take action to silence those who oppose him/her as much as possible. After reading this article, I now know one of the methods will be to keep the mail-in system as outdated as possible. I know I did not talk about the contents of the article too much but I feel what was said is leading to a much bigger issue more than any signature. It is about the division and course of this nation; I apologize for getting a little emotional as I do not want to seem biased but sometimes things are so twisted I can’t help it. I hope the country fixes itself, and it starts with us.

  7. The United States of America takes pride in being a country that represents democracy and freedom. We are a country that values freedom of speech and the free market, setting the example of what it means to have a country governed by its free people. Astonishingly, voting has become a political topic. No matter what political party you belong to, as an American citizen we should want every American to have the opportunity to vote.
    Normally I try to keep up to date with the news cycle, therefore already knew about the issues concerning mail-in voting. This article gave me a more in-depth view of how the mail-in voting process functions. Any reasonable individual can see that using human judgment to make decisions on signature matches is bound to have an error. I have changed my signature three times in the past couple of years. One individual from a previous comment above stated she signed her driver’s license when she was 16. I understand that in the past because of technology constraints, physically checking signatures would have been the only option. We live in a time where you can order food to your house from your phone, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence in every aspect of our day. The election process needs to improve at the same speed in which we improve our everyday lives.
    Cleaver suggests we use the last four digits of a social security number to identify U.S. citizens, which is a wonderful idea. I suggest we can integrate fingerprint recognition using Ai to identify individuals. On a federal level, the government has the resource to improve voting in every aspect of the process. A good example is the stimulus checks, I had to file for unemployment during these troubling times. I had to go through various government checks to verify I was truly who I said I was. New Jersey was able to update the entire website within a couple of weeks to improve efficiency. The federal government should take these initiatives to improve voting.
    The most astonishing part of this article is the practice of not letting voters know their mail-in vote was rejected. Only 19 of 50 states notify absentee voters if their ballot was rejected because of a signature discrepancy. This is extremely concerning; states give the impression of freedom by allowing citizens to vote but will reject the vote based on an outdated practice. This seems completely unethical in my opinion.
    In my closing remarks, I’m glad to see citizens are paying more attention to the voting process. The topic of mail-in voting has given light to many issues concerning the voting process. Maybe in the coming years, we will find solutions to the outdated laws that prevent citizens to express their right to vote.

  8. Voting is a very essential right that Americans have and is very important for people to use their vote as a form of their voice in order to fight for what they believe in. Currently, there has been a surge of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the nation, and one of the most important things that leaders of this movement are encouraging is for more citizens to register to vote. This will allow a more accurate idea of what the country feels about certain things. Since more and more people are registering to vote, it is important that once they are registered, it is very accessible for everyone to have a vote and a voice. I found this article very surprising and interesting. I am not very knowledgeable when it come to going out to vote considering this is the first year I am legally allowed to vote, and I was shocked to read that we still are voting through the mail. In the blog it explains how “One of the main reasons absentee ballots get rejected is that the signature you write on them doesn’t match with the signature the state has on file for you. That determination, it turns out, isn’t made by handwriting experts or fancy computer vision algorithms, but rather by untrained (and often harried) election workers.” This is not an effective way of determining there is voter fraud at these voting booths and people are losing votes and their voice sometimes unwarranted and are not even being notified that their vote has been discarded. I believe that it is very unethical to no notify a voter when their vote has been rejected because it is discarding them from having a voice to help change our country for the better. In addition, especially at a younger age, people change their signatures multiple times, and basing identification from signatures is not the best way to do it. I truly believe the best way to vote would be through an online system. In this system, voters would need certain identifications like SSN or driver licenses to confirm their identities and it would be much more reliable than mail signatures and handwriting. I also feel that during times such as these where we must social distance and there can only be a certain amount of people in an area, online voting would be much safer and more efficient.

  9. This article highlights some of the fears I have about mail-in ballots. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I am skeptical of when a polarized and unstable country during a global pandemic decides to re-work their voting system. The article mentions the outdated laws and technology used to register mail-in ballots. These systems have worked because of the low volume they served, come to the presidential election, and an already weak system is on track to crumble. I have personal insight into this as my grandmother, and former assembly woman is on the voting board for the state of new jersey. I have heard bureaucratic horror stories that leave me pessimistic on a mass rollout of mail-in ballots. We are simply not prepared yet. In the full article, it mentions a recent New Jersey election that rejected %10 of all mail-in votes. That number scaled to the rest of the country changes an election, and with an election as chaotic as this one, how can we trust the mail-in ballot system. Trump lost the popular vote by such a small margin in 2016 that even Florida’s recent mail-in ballot study with a %1.3 rejection rate could have changed the result.
    c. When it comes strictly to the signature issue, I like the solution mentioned with a social security number being required instead of a subjective signature. But national how many boards must approve it before it can become a reality. Besides social security, unless we came up with a more robust system of checking signatures and sending people letters when their vote was rejected, I do not see how we can trust the mail-in ballots. During the Iowa primary, they used an electronic voting method that was completely ridden with issues, throwing together a voting app safe enough to be used in a presidential election is impossible, not to mention not everyone has access to a computer. Raising awareness on the problem like this article helps people make sure they copy the signature on their license, but you cannot rely on journalists to make our election go smooth. With an ever-decreasing time window, a mail-in ballot system with multiple fundamental flaws, and an incredibly important election, I do not trust mail-in ballots.

  10. I have been paying attention to the 2020 election to an extensive degree and it still stuns me how outdated and flawed America’s voting system is, alongside the lack of initiative to fix it. I had never thought about the fact of the signature flaw, so kudos on the author for pointing that out. The author pointing out that human error by insufficiently trained postal workers determines if a ballot gets discredited or not terrifies me. Thinking of all the normal problems and hiccups that happen in a standard US election, throwing in a global pandemic and adding in the increased stream of mail-in votes, likely delaying the process of deciding the winner, makes me nervous about the political fallout of this election. We may be looking at a candidate being in the lead on election night, declaring victory, losing the lead days later, declaring the election fraudulent, and setting up a constitutional crisis in the middle of an already deeply divided and hostile country. I worry about relying on this kind of system for the election and the inability of our government to pass real change.
    The author brings up an excellent point about corporations and their passion about changing the voting signature system. It frustrates me how much Congress and corporations have not pushed harder to change this signature flaw and make it easier to secure ballots. With only 19 out of 50 states that allow someone to track their ballot to see if it went through, it astonishes me that their is not any drive by Congress or major corporations working with Congress to have systems in place to make sure everyone can see if their ballot was accepted or not. Mark Sullivan, the author, pointing out that “such a push would likely have trouble gaining bipartisan support,” (Sullivan) drives home the point, for me, that those at the top care more about retaining power no matter what than making sure everyone’s basic rights are being accounted for and having fair voting systems.

  11. This year is my first year voting, and I was thinking about voting by mail, but reading this article has changed my mind. Understandably, people are scared to vote through the mail. I understand that with the pandemic going on, states want to limit in-person voting. I also understand that many people have underlying health issues, so they are being cautious about leaving their homes. So, I think mail-in ballots are a great idea. The problems that come with mail-in votes are not ideal. That’s why I’m rethinking if I should do it. Knowing that states plan on matching the signature on the mail-in ballot with the signature on a file from the DMV is unfair. Many people sign their signatures at the DMV when they are underage and are not sure of their signature. The DMV has my signature from when I was 17, and I didn’t care how I wrote it. Now, I understand the importance of a signature.
    If I didn’t read this article, I wouldn’t know that my mail-in vote depended on my signature’s correctness. Knowing that Election workers are the people who decide if the signatures match leaves me with a very uneasy feeling because they are not qualified to compare signatures. I agree with what Debra Cleaver said about when she signs electronically; it is a loose approximation of her signature. In many cases, when people are signing electronically, they are not fully signing their signature, including myself. In my experience, sometimes, the electronic pen at the DMV does not work, so it cuts off a part of the signature. Signatures should not be how they determine whether to reject someone’s vote. It bothers me that some states may not notify people if their vote was not accepted. I think it is unethical, and that every person should be made aware if their vote refused.
    Cleaver recommends that a system should be put in place to recognize people by the last four digits of their social security number. While I agree that could be a good idea, it could also be one that’s not so great. Many may feel unsafe, sending the last four digits of their social security in the mail. I know I would feel unsafe sending my last four digits because sometimes banks only ask for the last four digits of your social. When I think about mail-in votes, I remember how people were stealing stimulus checks from mailboxes. I feel the same could happen from voting through the mail. My opinion on mail-in ballots is only to do it if you have to because there is a possibility your vote will not count. Also, make sure you read the instructions thoroughly.

  12. The upcoming 2020 presidential election is going to be the first election I have been eligible to vote in. I am from New York and go to college in New Jersey and will be at school for Election Day on November 3rd, so this summer when election talk came up I knew I was going to need to register for an absentee ballot. The process of voting through absentee or mail in ballot sounded like an easier and less stressful way to vote to me. This year especially due to the Corona Virus mail in ballots seem like the best and safest way to vote in the election. Prior to reading this article I was unaware of the amount of mail in ballots that get rejected due to the fact their signature doesn’t match the one on file. This information will be very helpful to me when I send in my ballot, because I will try to match my signature on my ballot to the one on my drivers license. I think this information needs to be printed or told to the voters that choose to vote by mail. For me personally I know my signature has changed since I was sixteen, and without this information my vote could have been rejected and seen as fraud. It should also be mandatory for states to tell their voters if their ballot has been rejected and the reason as to why, so the problem can be resolved. I think there needs to be another way besides signature to accurately verify if the person by mail is actually them.

  13. As a country, we have recently seen a very big political divide in regard to mail-in voting in the past few months. On the right, the argument is that mail-in voting will create an environment for individuals to commit fraud in the country’s voting process. However, the left suggest that due to the current restrictions that remain in place from COVID-19, universal mail-in ballots are the only way to have a free and fair election. However, the problem that is raised in the article is in regards to the authenticity of your vote it’s self. Most states only require a votes signature for them to vote. Signatures change over time and which can be a problem when voting officials are matching the current signature with the one that is on your license. If the signature does not match then they are forced to discare the vote. This also allows individuals to commit fraud by forging signatures of others in order to sway an election.
    I agree with the idea that was presented in the article that a vote could should their social security number as the form of identification instead of a signature. Every American citizen is given there own social security number, so it would help to protect against fraudulent voting, as well as making sure everyone’s vote is counted. In a Democracy such as ours, it is imperative that everyone’s vote is counted and everyone gets their voice heard. This system would also take away the need for registering to vote, thus easing the voting process and reducing the cost of holding an election.
    However, I do disagree with the author’s claim that voting by mail is secure. Yes, absentee ballots are sent through the mail, but these ballots are pre-authorized. If a ballot is sent to every address in the country or even just every registered voter, there is an increased opportunity for fraud to be committed. In my accounting classes, we have the 10-80-10 rule when referring to fraud. To sum it up 10% will never commit it 80% would under the right circumstances, and 10% actively look to commit fraud. Sending more ballots out then the amount of people that vote each year is inviting the 80% of those people to test the water while allowing the other 10% an easier path to commit it.

  14. This article was very eye-opening to me, I was never aware of the importance of signature authentication in mail-in voting procedures. Mail-in voting is going to be more important than ever this year, with the coronavirus pandemic throwing a wrench in the procedures of typical in-person voting. I find it unsettling that the determining factor of my vote being counted is dependent upon my signature being almost identical to my DMV stored signature. Personally, I feel like my signature never looks exactly the same every time I sign documents, it’s along the same lines, but not identical. I think that relying on the comparison of signatures that are years apart is a very outdated and unreliable method to use to determine if an individual’s vote gets counted. I find it even more shocking that in most states, voters are not notified when their mail-in vote has been rejected, and therefore not counted.
    The comparison of a voter’s mail-in ballot signature which is written in pen, to their DMV signature, which is typically signed on a screen with a stylus creates even more area for differences in signatures. Most people would say that their signature on a screen, signed with a stylus would look much sloppier than their signature written out with pen and paper. I agree with Cleaver, that a unique identifier centered around the use of one’s social security number would be a much more reliable form of identifier than comparing an individual’s signatures. Our country is very reliant on mail-in voting this year in light of the coronavirus, and this signature authentication issue is just another factor that could potentially hinder the results of this year’s election.

  15. I thought this article was very interesting. I personally did not know that for mail-in voting my signature had to match the one on record for the DMV. The article hit this pretty spot-on, when I did my signature for the DMV I was 16 getting my permit and it was done electronically. When signing on an electronic pad with a stylus my signature looks very different from what it really is. I agree with the article that there has to be a better solution to verify our identities with mail-in voting. I thought the idea of using our social security number would be a more efficient and accurate way of identification. I also thought it was interesting that the article said, “A mismatch could, in theory, reveal a fraudulent ballot, but real fraud attempts are very rare.” But then also included a tweet from the President urging against mail-in ballots, saying it would lead to “massive fraud and abuse”. With the pandemic and current state of the country, mail-in voting in theory would likely lead to a larger voter turnout. It would allow a safer way for those who are immunocompromised, at high risk or the elderly to vote. However, there are many issues that have and will arise with mail-in voting. In recent studies, it showed there were many ballots rejected because the signatures did not match. The issue is that many voters were not even aware that their ballots had been rejected. There has to be a more efficient and accurate way to go about this. It is likely the state of the country regarding COVID-19 will be no better and possibly even worse by the time the election comes. The stakes are high this election especially with so much unrest in the country currently. It will be incredibly important to fix any issues to ensure the mail-in ballots and voting run smoothly this election.

  16. Voting by mail is a very controversial and interesting topic. It has always been available to people but now with this new version of the world with COVID, it is more prevalent than ever. This article provided me with insight about voting through the mail that I did not realize before reading, one of the main things being that often why ballots get denied is because the signature does not match the one that the state has on file for them. This makes sense because there are so many ballots that the people working can’t take the time to investigate on every ballot and if the signatures don’t match the one that the state, usually the one from the DMV, then it may seem fraudulent. Although on the other hand, I agree with the article because often it is very difficult to do a normal signature on the pen pad with the stylus and sometimes people’s personal signature doesn’t fit, so they do a shorter version that may also be different. Another problem with that is that it is not communicated enough and almost every time the signature does not match it is because they did not know. I do not think that it is a coincidence at all that they have not pushed for laws to legitimatize electronic signatures. I think that there is one side who wants things done a certain way no matter what the climate of the world is and there’s also people who will do anything to try to attain victory, whether it is ethical or not. Sources believe that if there were electronic signatures than there would be a larger turnout at the elections. Another valid question that I did not consider was the proposal do mail-in ballots even need a signature because the ballot’s return envelope has a bar code that election officials match to the voter’s record in the voter file. That is a much more effective way to monitor it because that really limits the chance of the ballot being fraudulent. Also, in the article, it shows how the leader for certain people will use his platform to relay false information to millions of people who think he is credible. Ultimately, mail-in ballots will now be more popular for a long time, so it is important that there are things that get done to ensure that the election has the largest turnout and is fair for both parties.

  17. As November 9 approaches, the already divided people of America continue to take sides and further entrench their opinions. The presidential election is one of our most sacred traditions, yet I believe it is not as honest as it seems. Millions around the country line up at their local polling station to cast off their vote and let their voice be heard, but even then, are they rarely heard individually. Slap a pandemic on top of the process and what you are left with is an even more complicated situation where mail-in ballots are considered the safest option to order to participate. Healthwise, this may be true, but it does leave the voting process vulnerable to dishonesty.
    In my eyes, the controversy around mail-in ballots is just the surface of a deeply rooted problem within our government. It would be ignorant or simply stupid to deny that our government, or any government, is without corruption as there are just too many factors that dictate the course of a nation. Every election, every debate, there is some form of skepticism about the integrity of either a candidate, their administration, or their decisions. Whatever it may be, it is in question, usually by the opposing party, which in turn is questioned. Though it is an issue (for a much later time), it is not corruption that bothers me, but the lies that are spread and the fight that ensues. I am 19 years old. I can vote – I want to vote, but I do not know how. I grew up in a time where somebody can say anything they want for everybody to see nearly instantaneously. It is a remarkable and dangerous luxury of my life, and there are times where I cannot stand it. This is one of those times. I want to learn, but it seems impossible to do so when there are so many conflicting views thrown my way either from my peers, my idols, my parents, the media, or even my president. We as a nation preach unity and equality for all, yet we are quick to take sides whenever an issue arises. Once we take a side, we rarely deviate, and from there we go at each other’s throats. Lies about one another our created and the truth is lost in all of this conflict, and I see this fight between people of my age as well as between our nation’s leaders. I guess its human nature to fight for what you believe in, even if it is wrong.
    The point I am trying to make in its simplest form is that we are all in this together. Though our opinions differ, we are the same people in the same country in the same world. If we continue fighting, we will continue to hamstring ourselves and never reach our full potential as a species. I know this rather optimistic and big picture stuff, for it will take generations to be realized as what I am asking is for people to put aside their differences to work together. On more relevant note, however, the fighting and side-taking will be a serious determent to the youth of America if it continues the way it has. Teenagers now are entering the real world not knowing the truth or what the right thing to is. One day we are told to vote online because it is the safe thing to do during a pandemic while the very next day, we are told by our president that there is a higher chance of fraud if we do so. And this is just grazing the surface – can you imagine what really happens within the system? The best thing a young adult can do in this time of uncertain is to educate yourself as much as you with information from both sides and follow what you believe to be right while keeping your mind open for change.

  18. To be completely honest and open about how I feel, I simply do not trust voting by mail, especially with all the polarization with the upcoming presidential election. You never know when your USPS guy hates your guts. There has been several postmen caught discarding mail-in votes, already, and I don’t want my vote to be one of them. When I received my mail-in ballot, I filled it out, then drove it to the Board of Elections myself and handed it off in-person. While it is not expected for most to go to the extent that I did to prevent voter fraud, I know that turning eighteen-years-old has been a turning point for me and did not want anyone to take advantage of my right(s). So thank the Lord, in other words, that my signature was pretty much identical to the one I normally use on legal documents, all in ink.

    The e-signatures that you are forced to sign on certain packages or any e-document are, I can say with ease, the bane of my entire existence. These electronic machines portray my signature with the grace and eloquence equivalent to that of a five-year-old who has discovered a Crayola 120-count crayon pack for the first time. Whatever abomination comes out of what I attempt to sign looks so distraught, you could auction it off at your nearest local art gallery as a masterpiece by Picasso himself. Whoever thought that was a good idea definitely has never seen the sloppy messes that are formed using their chunky e-pens attached to an annoyingly-short wire that prevents me from reaching the far end of the screen opposite to where it begins. Serious jail time for that person. Very serious.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of your last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN) being a good substitute, either, because that is just as easily stolen as a signature. While some may disagree, I feel it would be smarter to have a pressure-recognition software that allows a signature to accurately reflect which strokes apply more pressure than others; this would make your signature seem a lot more realistic and comparable to the one in ink. However, I do not know how much this potential outcome would cost nor how effective it is in determining fraudulent signatures, but that is my shot in the dark. Also, it doe not surprise me that their ideas do not have bipartisan support. There has not been full, unanimous bipartisan support since the birth of this great nation. Even then, we disagreed on how to go about it. All we knew to do was to march the British, rifle-in-hand and demand them to stop controlling us until we figure it out among ourselves, first. At the end of the day, I hope for someone with a half-intelligent mind to come up with something better than “let’s make people sign on machines that are terrible, then deny them voting right via voter fraud because we hired understaffed men and women to match apples to oranges.” Until then, I’ll wait the extra 10 hours if it means my vote is processed right.

  19. I believe everyone who can vote should vote, and the government should provide citizens as many avenues as possible to submit their ballots through. Mail-in ballots have provided voters an alternative way to support their candidates from the comfort of their home for decades, but the process is now under heavy scrutiny as it could become the primary method of voting in this historically contentious election because of COVID. President Trump has exacerbated this scrutiny by criticizing this voting method’s validity. The article hints that Trump is wrong in his assessment that mail-in voting facilitates fraud attempts, but there is still an issue with the process.

    The main reason polling stations reject these ballots is because voters have to signature their ballots, and this signature is then compared to their signature from the DMV. This is an extremely antiquated process and is also unreliable. People’s signatures are not always consistent over time and the DMV often uses digital signatures with a stylus, while mail-in ballots require a pen. These issues open the door for discrepancies in signatures and make this verification method dubious. Not only do many voters lose their opportunity to vote because polling stations incorrectly reject their ballots, but often times polling stations do not notify them that they did not accept their ballot, leaving them unaware of how widespread this issue is. Simply put, this verification system needs and overhaul, and the article offers a helpful suggestion with social security numbers. Something like a social security number that is unique to every citizen will make it easier for volunteers at polling stations to reliable verify mail-in ballots. This election has the potential to shape the future of this county, and it would be a shame if people can not vote because they do not feel safe going to a polling station and they fail to match a signature they made years ago.

  20. Being born in an age where even the most far off science fiction ideas of the forties and fifties is now a reality, it can be at times confusing why the postal service is still regarded as an absolutely essential service. In terms of delivering packages and parcels, the postal service has a plethora of competitors, but for mail and letters? Only the United States Postal Service is legally allowed to do that. How this connects to the article on mail in voting should be obvious, but just to be sure, this decision to centralize the postal service to be only in government hands, I would argue, has led to a potential democratic crisis this November.
    This may seem strange to suggest, especially since the argument of the article was suggesting poor penmanship was a large threat to vote in ballots. However, the article also was referencing how poor or even misplaced handling of funds for the post office was leading to distrust in the eventual result of the 2020 election, due to perceived voting fraud. My argument hinges on the funds being used as a political chess piece, as if this is true, then the American people should lobby to de-socialize the postal service and put it into the hands of corporations. This may seem like an incredibly damaging argument, but after reading the article I was struck by how a few simple changes could lead to the article’s issues being at least mitigated. Mark Sullivan, the author, wrote about how red tape is not allowing mail in ballots to function as they should. The end of the article discusses how hard it is for the post office to sort and approve such a large amount of ballots in time to be counted for the election. But when I look at this problem, all I can think about is if there were competing services for mail, how they would never allow such a thing to exist. A government’s primary objective may be for the people, but even the government cannot focus its dollars on everything at once, or even be willing to. For a great example of your tax dollars at work, look to our military spending. However, a private postal service company would not be concerned with welfare, the creation of laws and regulations or even military, since its primary job would be as a postal service. The biggest argument I have seen in opposition to this idea has been how the postal service has been under government control in order to prevent unnecessarily high prices on items like stamps and other essential items related to the post office. But ironically, the government could solve this and allow for private postal service by issuing price ceilings on these items, preventing the scalping of Americans from their money. I only thought of these issues after reading Mr. Sullivan’s piece on the issues plaguing this year’s mail in ballots, but I agree with him on that if this is not solved before November, the election results are in danger of being exclusive, distrusted, or even both.

  21. The pandemic has changed the future in ways of politics and voting. Uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus has encouraged many states to press for mail-in voting ballots. However, when signatures on these ballots do not match, they are often rejected or not counted. How one signs their absentee ballot and the low-tech process governed by old laws may be the deciding factor if their ballot is tallied. Currently, there are no high-tech computer vision algorithms to decipher. Therefore, the low-tech process that verifies one’s signature is approved by an hasten election worker. Moreover, election workers have no handwriting expertise and their required to compare your DMV signature to your ballot. This is concerning because more than likely, one’s signature on a pen-stylist screen will not be as neat as their signature with a classic pen on paper. Reasons people want to avoid voting in person is the fear of catching COVID-19 and long lines. With the 2020 election in November quickly approaching, many voters are rightfully so, worried about fraud, abuse, and a need for secure and accurate process. Documented issue with voting by mail is more apparent now that we are in the pandemic. News of vote by mail vulnerabilities highlighted the dangers such as altering forged stolen or thrown away ballots. Many do not receive their ballots in time to make their vote count, while others are never received yet their status is recorded that they have voted. Mail in vote especially in large quantities due to the pandemic will cause chaos and disenfranchisement. Inevitably, these ballots will cause a compromised and contested election. In today’s fast paced world where technology is always improving, one would believe that a secure method would be in place. Technology should be able to verify the digital signature so that the election worker does not have to validate the integrity of the ballot. Every person has a political biased and can be swayed by their perception. A unique identifier such as a voter I.D. number and photo I.D. should be used to validate and authenticate the ballots. There is no universal system in place for voters to check if their vote was counted correctly. If an ATM machine can provide a receipt with a transaction number, so should a cast ballot.

  22. November 3rd, 2020 is a very important day in American history. It is the day that determines the type of country we live in for the next four years. Every four years, U.S citizens gather at polling stations around the country and vote for who their next leader is going to be. But this year, our voting process will be different. Due to the current global pandemic, many states have proposed Mail-In Voting as a safer way to vote this election. Since the day Mail-In Voting was introduced, it has been a very controversial topic among people. There are many concerns that it is not a secure method to vote and that it will be skewed by a certain political party.
    In the article “Voting by mail is secure, but it has a seriously low-tech downside: your signature” by Mark Sullivan, it discusses the history of Mail-In Voting and why some votes have been rejected. When filling out a mail-in ballot, you have to sign your signature in order for it to count. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that your signature on your ballot needs to match the signature on your driver’s license. This can be a problem because when you sign for your driver’s license, it is on a digital pad and not with a pen and paper. “A recent study of the 2020 Florida primary by Stanford and MIT researchers showed that younger and minority voters were more likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected. Only 1.3% of the total number of mailed ballots were rejected in the election, yet 3.56% ballots cast by 18-to-29-year-olds went uncounted, and were rejected, and 2.32% of Black voters’ mailed ballots were not counted.”
    As you can see, the percentage of mail-in ballots that were rejected in Florida’s primary was only 1.3%. This very small percentage of rejection can be completely eliminated if all voters were told to copy the signature on their driver’s license. These results show that Mail-In Voting is actually very secure, and people should not be worried about a skewed election. In a time of great divide in our country, I think it will be comforting for people to know that their vote will matter. I also believe that the people should be given the choice on whether they want to vote at a polling station or through mail-in ballots. This is a huge decision for most people and they should be given the option to vote in the way that they are most comfortable with.

  23. Voting has always been a debated topic and while voting by mail has always been an option, more people will be using this method this year. I think it is always important to vote and everyone who is registered or able to vote should. While some people may not want to vote because they dislike the candidates, I think it is even more imperative to vote this year because of everything going on.
    Like many of the people here, this year will be my first year that I am allowed to vote. Since I am from California and I will be out here in New Jersey for the election, I will have to get an absentee ballot. I never thought that the first time I would vote would have to be by mail, but here we are. I am especially glad that I read this article before the election because it opened my eyes too many things that I was never aware about. As I was reading this article, one of the main things that stood out to me was the signatures. In the article it states how one of the main reasons absentee ballots get rejected is because the signature you mail in doesn’t match your signature on file. As I have grown up, I have realized how much my signature has changed and it is scary to think that my vote could possibly not be counted if my signature is slightly off. I think it is even more scary that the people who determine this are untrained election workers. With this being said, I think Mark Sullivan makes a great point on how we should use the last four digits of our social security number. By doing this, I think it would make it a lot easier to count votes and there wouldn’t be as many issues such as fraudulent voting.

  24. With the constant debates going on over the efficiency of mail-in ballots and their potential problems, it was refreshing to hear about a different problem with the ballots. After months of debate over the ability of the postal service, with Republicans trying to insure that in-person polls remain, and Democrats trying to make it as easy a possible to get a ballot into the hands of most Americans, it was nice to hear about a real issue with mail in ballots. The problem with ballots that the article discusses is about signature identification. This seems as if it would be a fluke occurrence but Sullivan writes “In May, 31 New Jersey municipalities held an all-mail-in election and ended up rejecting 10% of the ballots—the No. 1 reason was signature mismatches.” The signature you put on the ballot must match what the government has on file for your signature, which in most cases comes from the DMV. I found the article interesting as from looking at the signature on my license and comparing it with my real signature, they do not resemble each other that closely. There is a difference from signing electronically on the minuscule screen at the DMV and writing it out on a piece of paper. This is a significant issue that will have a massive effect on an election that is set to be mostly mail in. The article brings up a suggestion of using social security numbers. I thought that this was a great idea as every American citizen has one that is unique to them and it is a number, so it is either right or wrong, no one has to try and interpret it. While it would be simple it is also unrealistic and something that will likely not happen because it would require bipartisan support. In conclusion, the argument over the effectiveness of a mail in election has been largely political with the President knowing his odds of reelection would be severely injured by a mail in election and the democratic party pushing the other way. I thought a clear solution to the problem of signature identification was offered with the use of social security numbers but that is highly unlikely.

  25. This article brings up an interesting point regarding mail-in voting. Before reading this article, I didn’t know much about the mail-in voting process as I have always voted in person. I had guessed that there was some manual work involved but didn’t fathom the extent of manual work and how it could potentially impact the validation process for each vote.

    As this article predicted, I initially presumed voter validation would have been processed through a computer algorithm to extract the highest form of accuracy in each validation. To learn that each validation will be done by eye, surprised me. When processing information on a case-by-case basis with varying levels of evaluations, it increases the chance for basic human error. I think Debra Cleaver makes a valid point on how the last 4 digits of a social security number, an electronic signature or the individual voter bar code on the envelope, could all serve as better identifiers. However, the rules and regulations around mail-in voting haven’t adapted to modern times and the current pandemic has certainly illuminated that fact. Unfortunately, as cited in the article, enacting change around this regulation is very unlikely as it will be difficult to obtain bipartisan support, let alone properly implement a change in time.

    Taking this all into consideration, I think communicating this to US voters is extremely important. Voting forms, state and federal websites as well as any additional election information should emphasize the importance of making sure your signature on your absentee ballot matches the one on your driver’s license. Informing voters of this crucial deciding factor in vote acceptance is key.

    Along with these communications, I also hope that officials will use 2 types of validation, both the signature and voter barcode, to ensure all submitted votes have the greatest chance of acceptance. It feels a bit discordant to be living in the 21st century where my email address has multiple points of validation but my vote in a presidential election struggles to achieve a single source of validation.

  26. This year, Democratic and Republican state officials have made it easier to vote-by-mail, acting on a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Voting-by-mail has become increasingly popular in US elections, and nearly a quarter of all voters cast mail ballots in 2016, according to the Election Assistance Commission. The ruby-red state of Utah will use all-mail elections this year, joining Washington state, Oregon, Hawaii, and Colorado.
    I agree with Cleaver. My signature today will definitely not match to my signature of over 20 years ago that is on record at DMV. Yes, when I sign my name on an electronic pad with a stick pen or using my fingertip my signature is always slightly different. Of course, there is a big fear that if our signature is mismatched our vote will be rejected without notification and voters will never know if their vote was counted. This is a big dilemma and a scary thought for all of us. However, we have to trust that although the many vulnerabilities, multiple layers of protections are in place to make sure voting-by-mail is clean, both by election officials and volunteers, sometimes assisted by technology such as special software that compares signatures in a statewide database.
    Because we are living in unprecedent times, for election 2020 people have to make the right decision for themselves and their circumstances while exercising their right to vote and protecting their well-being.
    Voters should get familiar on how their state will be conducting mail voting and make a decision on how to vote. In NJ, Gov Murphy said that “This year’s general election -which of course includes the presidential race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden — is being conducted largely by mail, although polling sites on Election Day will be open, too, with accommodations for voters with disabilities. (However, if you choose to vote in person on Election Day, you’ll be required to cast a provisional ballot.)”

  27. Over the last few years, there have been accusations over the integrity of our elections. Our next election is two months away and we are in the midst of a pandemic. Many do not want to go out to the polls, so it leaves them with the option to vote by mail. I have been voting since I was a senior in high school (2015). I have always gone to the polls. Though, this year may be different.
    The author suggests that voting by mail is secure however, the way our vote may or may not be counted is by the way we sign our ballots. If I end up sending in a ballot, I will have to practice my signature on a seperate sheet of paper and have my license next to me while I practice.
    This is because the author mentioned, “ in the vast majority of cases, a mismatch reveals only that the voter wrote a signature different from the signature they wrote when they got their driver’s license.” Not to mention,
    it’s untrained election workers that try to match the signature to the records at the DMV. I can say that my signature changes with everything that I sign. I can write a check one minute and the next I can sign a birthday card and compare them side by side and notice that they are slightly different. Not to mention, when you go to the DMV you use a pen stylus which also affects your signature. Perhaps, they could train election workers on what to look for.
    In order to fix this, the author has suggested that the ballots include a return envelope that contain a specific barcode for each person that could match what’s in the voter file. Although this sounds interesting it could also be problematic because there is no proof that the voter is actually at the address that is on the file.
    What concerns me the most is that voters have no way of knowing if their ballot was rejected. According to the article, “only 19 states notify absentee voters if their ballot was rejected because of signature discrepancy. Nineteen states have passed laws requiring election officials to provide a website where absentee voters can check the status of their ballot, and another 14 states have built such websites voluntarily”. Perhaps all states should implement this system. They can make it like the NJ Unemployment website where they check the unemployment claim status. They can just log in and see if their vote was accepted or not. Although this is unlikely, perhaps they can lift some of the restrictions this election due to the circumstances.

  28. Voting is a very essential way to voice your opinion. In my perspective if you are old enough to vote than there is no reason that you should not be doing so. If you are someone that is into politics and has a strong opinion on the structure of the world and the government around you, then you must vote and cast your opinion so that there is a better chance you will have the candidate that you want to win. As we discussed in class the other day, every vote counts. It is more essential that you go in person to vote rather than to vote by mail because as we all know things can get los by mail, and you will never know if your vote was accounted for so it is safer if you vote in person. In the article it mentions how one of the main reasons absentee ballots get rejected is because the signature you mail in does not match your signature on file. I am not very good at signing in person so my signature often changes every time that I sign so it would not be fair if my vote did not get accounted for because my signature does not look the same as last time on file.
    Especially this year, voting is very important with everything going on with the pandemic everyone may feel that it is easier to vote by mail so you don’t have to be around a lot of people with a mask on and to deal with the line but personally I think if you are able to go in person than you should use that platform. Regardless if you do not like either of the candidates that are running you should still vote for one that you believe will effect the country in a more positive way. As the article states, only 19 states have methods where you can track the status of your ballet, and another 14 have websites set up where you can see the status of your vote and when it was accounted for, which I think is very useful. I have always felt that it was easier to do things myself such as hand deliver things to people. When it comes to voting and it is something that your vote could be the one that matters, it is important to make sure that your voice is heard through your vote so I think the best option would be going to vote in person rather than through the mail.

  29. Reading this article, I can agree and disagree with what is being said. Voting is a very important part in the presidential election. Every vote counts and it allows you to increase the change of your candidate being elected. This article explained well why mail in ballots are being declined. I agree with the fact that not having the proper signature plays a factor in absentee ballots get rejected. It is a major issue because your vote is not properly being recorded and will not go towards the election. This, if anything makes you not want to do mail in vote even more. If your vote cannot be counted by mail in, less people are going to want to do it. November 3rd is a very important date coming up and all votes have an impact. This brings we to why i disagree with the article. The article says “Voting by mail is secure” is inaccurate. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where some people feel they cannot trust the postal service. I personally do not trust the U.S. postal service with my ballot because truly, both candidates/parties for the election have their corruptions and if I do not know that my vote is being sent by mail securely and that my vote will be approved, then I will not send it by vote. I want to avoid all the corruption that could potentially occur which is why in-person voting is the best way to secure your vote. You electronically chose you candidate and you know that it is approved and being sent in, 100% accurate to all your decisions you make on that very important voting day. We live in a time where voting has never been more important. These two candidates have very different futures planned for our country and it is up to us to vote for the President who only wants America to prosper and succeed, so vote!

  30. This article provided a lot of information about absentee ballots vs voting in person. While reading through the article, it became very clear to me that our government is not up to speed on today’s technology, to say the least. This will be the first election where I’m of age to vote and I do plan on casting a vote. I haven’t put much time into deciding if I’m voting in person or by mail, but after gathering some more information, I’ve decided to just go in person. This saves me the hassle of potentially getting my vote rejected. I had no idea that your signature was so important when signing your absentee ballot either. One of the main points that stuck out to me was that your ballot signature needs to strongly match your driver’s license signature in order for the ballot to be considered legitimate and not be rejected. For me, I would need to replicate my signature from when I was 16, which was 4 years ago. For many other people that could date back 10+ years. It’s an extremely unrealistic standard to reach and instead of dealing with trying to match signatures, I’ll just resort to voting in person. Additionally, the article stated that in a recent Florida study, “3.56% ballots cast by 18-to-29-year-olds went uncounted, and were rejected…” While that number could seem low, it still raises a red flag for me since I’m a person of this age range. Originally, I thought absentee ballots were for the sick and elderly that cannot get to a physical voting booth. The irony about this is that elderly people tend to have weak and disformed signatures, at least my grandparents did. So, does that mean many of their votes go uncounted for as well? Overall, the government’s voting system is very dated and can definitely be altered before the next election in a few years.
    If I was able to pose a few options for an alternative to mail in voting I would suggest utilizing people’s social security numbers, similar to what was mentioned in the article. As stated by Mark Sullivan, a social security number is an, “actual unique identifier that every U.S. citizen has.” This serves as a way better indicator that the ballot is legitimate. I would also encourage a more digitalized approach to casting your ballot. After all, with all the technology we see being utilized in businesses, schools and the medical field, I’m hopeful an alternative can be created for our next election.

  31. The upcoming presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden might very well be considered one of the most important elections in the history of the United States. However, we are currently faced with the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans. The virus has been in play in our country since early March and it is still very active. Because of the constant threat the coronavirus has, the election will be conducted by mail in voting. In almost every state, people will not have the opportunity to go to a polling station and cast their vote for the next President of the United States. Donald Trump had publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with mail in voting and believes there will be many cases of fraud. There have already been several cases in which problems arose from these ballots. There are many other concerns surround mail in voting that doesn’t involve fraud. As the article states, the signature on our ballot is compared with the signature the DMV has on file when we received are licenses. This to me raises an immediate red flag. First, people’s signatures do change over time. For example, one that writes out their full name might one day decide to change it and only write down their first initial of their first name. The DMV would not know of this change and the ballot would then be considered invalid. Also, if someone wrote their signature neater or messier than what they had on file, would that mean it would also be considered invalid? I am really against mail in voting because I just think there are too many problems associated it with it. I don’t understand why if we wear masks and if stations are sanitized after every use, why we cannot just vote in person. This year also has the highest volume of voters in history and mail in votes will take extremely long to count. It will not be like previous elections where we casted our votes electronically and there would be a winner declared by the next day. Mail in votes might take weeks, perhaps months for everything to be counted and verified properly. It will be quite interesting to see the problems that arise with mail in voting in the next couple of weeks.

  32. The upcoming presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden might very well be considered one of the most important elections in the history of the United States. However, we are currently faced with the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans. The virus has been in play in our country since early March and it is still very active. Because of the constant threat the coronavirus has, the election will be conducted by mail in voting. In almost every state, people will not have the opportunity to go to a polling station and cast their vote for the next President of the United States. Donald Trump had publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with mail in voting and believes there will be many cases of fraud. There have already been several cases in which problems arose from these ballots. There are many other concerns surround mail in voting that doesn’t involve fraud. As the article states, the signature on our ballot is compared with the signature the DMV has on file when we received are licenses. This to me raises an immediate red flag. First, people’s signatures do change over time. For example, one that writes out their full name might one day decide to change it and only write down their first initial of their first name. The DMV would not know of this change and the ballot would then be considered invalid. Also, if someone wrote their signature neater or messier than what they had on file, would that mean it would also be considered invalid? I am really against mail in voting because I just think there are too many problems associated it with it. I don’t understand why if we wear masks and if stations are sanitized after every use, why we cannot just vote in person. This year also has the highest volume of voters in history and mail in votes will take extremely long to count. It will not be like previous elections where we casted our votes electronically and there would be a winner declared by the next day. Mail in votes might take weeks, perhaps months for everything to be counted and verified properly. It will be quite interesting to see the problems that arise with mail in voting in the next couple of weeks.

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