I opened my vote-by-mail ballot this afternoon around 3:30pm. I completed filling it out and deposited in the nearby county ballot drop box just over an hour later.
Oregon has had standard vote-by-mail since 1989. I have vague memories of voting in person at my former elementary school. I think I only voted that way once. I voted absentee when I was away a college and overseas, and ever since, it’s been vote-by-mail.
I love vote-by-mail! Let me count the ways:
- I can review and research my ballot in the comfort and privacy of my home, where I have easy access to any magazine, newspapers, video interviews, etc. if I need more than what the voters’ pamphlet provides.
- I don’t have any time pressure to figure out which lever to pull, which button to press, etc. I can take my time.
- I don’t have to worry about finding the correct polling location (which county, ward, division, parish, etc. am I in?).
- I don’t have to worry about taking time off from work to vote, nor do I have to deal with fighting traffic to make sure I get to the polls before they close.
- I don’t have to worry about waiting in line to vote (especially a concern this year due to the pandemic).
- I can easily check the status of my ballot (has it be received) online.
- Places that have instituted vote-by-mail have seen an increase in voter turnout.
- In Oregon, vote-by-mail has a favorability of over 75% for both registered Democrats and Republicans.
There are some who oppose vote-by-mail, worried that it is susceptible to voter fraud. However, numerous studies have found the overall voting fraud rate to be extraordinarily low:
- From 2000-2019, Oregon has found 14 fraudulent votes attempted by mail. Since 15,476,519 votes were cast during that time period, that amounts to a fraud rate of .00009046%
- Colorado, from 2005-20018 experienced 8 fraudulent votes attempted by mail out of 15,955,704 votes, or a rate of .0000501%
- Washington, from 2004-2010 found 7 attempted fraudulent votes by mail out of 10,605,749 votes, or a rate of .0000660%
As a comparison, here are some comparison odds:
- Being struck by lightning: 1 in 500,000, or .0002% (2 to 4 times more likely than the occurrence of voter fraud in the above states). About one in ten lightning strikes are fatal.
- Odds of being attacked and killed by a shark: 1 in 3,750,000, or .0000267% (roughly 2-3 times more likelihood there will be fraudulent votes than people killed by sharks).