Don’t listen to the partisan fear-mongering: voting in-person is safe

In recent weeks, Democrats and the left-wing media have attempted to cast doubt on the safety of voting in-person, with story headlines reading things like “Voting fears in New Mexico amplified amid 2020 tensions.” 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has been fear-mongering about safety concerns regarding in-person voting, uring “every voter in New Mexico to request an absentee ballot and vote safely by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

However, June’s primary election went forth without any health concerns or voting locations closed down due to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Despite the Governor attempting to stigmatize in-person voting, it is the safest way to cast one’s ballot–both in terms of one’s health and one’s security that their vote will be counted. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the words of Democrats across the state who affirm how safe voting is:

Democrat Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover, who oversees the most populous county in New Mexico, said in-person voting is “probably one of the safest places to be in town.” 

Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver acknowledged the safety of in-person voting. She said, “in-person voting is safe and we’ll be safe here” in all 33 counties of the state. Toulouse previously fought hard at the New Mexico Supreme Court, although unsuccessfully, to hold an all-mail-in election. Democrats claimed it was an “assault on Democracy” not to eliminate in-person voting. 

Although absentee voting is an option, it is not guaranteed, as voting in-person is, that one’s ballot will not be thrown out or discarded. According to a report by NBC News, there is a higher chance that absentee ballots made by people of color will have their mail-in ballots thrown away or disqualified.

University of Florida professor Daniel A. Smith said: 

Hispanic and Black voters were more than twice as likely to have their ballot rejected as white voters in Florida’s 2018 general election. In May, he co-published a review of Georgia’s 2018 midterm election data that found a similar pattern of rejection for voters of color.

When it comes to mail voting, names and addresses can suggest race and create opportunities for implicit bias or added scrutiny. In Georgia, Democratic officials said that election officials can access a voter’s race when they’re checking for a signature match. The state party successfully sued to require multiple poll workers to sign off on a signature mismatch, which they hope will reduce bias.

NBC News writes:

The most common reason ballots are rejected is that they arrive late. Mail service is less reliable in lower-income communities, and many Native American reservations do not have home delivery addresses used for mail voting. The pandemic has stressed mail service across the board, and amid the fiscal crisis, the U.S. Postal Service has ordered recent changes that are expected to slow the mail service.

Based on the available evidence, voting in-person is not only the safest way for voters to cast their votes, it is the preferred method to ensure every voter’s ballot is counted. It is recommended that if a voter wishes to order an absentee ballot, they return their ballot to the County Clerk’s office by mail at least two full weeks before the November 3 election, otherwise, they should hand-deliver their ballot to the County Clerk’s office in their respective counties.

New Mexico’s highest-ranking election chief Maggie Toulouse Oliver herself acknowledges the safety of in-person voting, and so should voters across New Mexico. Vote in-person if possible. More voting information can be found at NMForAll.com.

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