On Father’s Day I cast my vote in the July 14 primary, dropping the envelope in the mailbox outside the post office on my way to the supermarket. All voting should be that easy.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

I am worried, however, that my vote for Sara Gideon may not count because the envelope got soiled right where I signed it. A vase full of Carolyn’s lovely irises dripped on it and left a stain on my name. Carolyn has an absentee ballot, too, but she’s waiting until we get a little closer to the primary election just in case something happens that might change her vote.

Given the coronavirus pandemic, some estimates suggest 70% of Americans may vote by mail in the November general election. I know I will. But as long as they vote to get rid of Donald J. Trump, I don’t care how or when people vote.

The self-serving pseudo-president is vocally opposed to voting by mail even though he has done so at least three times himself, including for the 2020 Florida primary. Trump’s well-documented lie is that mail-in ballots invite voter fraud. The real reason he is opposed to voting by mail is that he knows the more votes that get cast the less chance he (or any other Republican) has of winning. That’s why Republicans work so hard to suppress the vote.

In the Orwellian doublespeak Republicans have become masters of, making it harder for Americans to vote is called protecting the integrity of the election. This from the president and the party that invited the Russians and now the Chinese to meddle in our elections. On the domestic front, Republican voter suppression takes the form of closing polling places, purging voter rolls of legal voters, mandating voter IDs, reducing voting hours and, when all else fails, claiming busloads of Black people are being bused around the country to vote illegally.

How much of a problem is voter fraud in the United States? Statistically, no problem at all. NPR reported that 250 million mailed ballots have been cast over the past 20 years, with just 143 convictions for voter fraud. That amounts to one case of fraud per state every six years.


The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law agrees that voter fraud is not a serious problem. It found that of 23.5 million votes it surveyed, only about 30 may have involved non-citizens voting.

Five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah – conduct all elections by mail. Maine is what is known as a no-excuse absentee ballot state. Any registered Maine voter may cast an absentee ballot without specifying a reason. Just ask and you shall receive one.

Not surprisingly – coming from a man so ignorant he thought Finland was part of Russia – Trump went all Twitterish, even threatening to withhold funding from Michigan for “illegally” sending absentee ballots to 7.7 million people. In fact, what Michigan had done was send applications for absentee ballots to 7.7 million voters.

At this point, it is safe to assume that everything that comes from Donald Trump’s forked tongue or tiny thumbs is a mistake or a lie. Just so Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The voter fraud commission headed by VP Mike Pence rarely met and disbanded after a year. Turns out the only fraud it uncovered was Donald J. Trump, who is a fraud as a president and as a human being.

So vote early, if only to annoy Trump. It’s your patriotic duty. Happy Fourth of July!

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