Will voting by mail increase fraud and cast doubt on election results? Thankfully, online fact-checking yields numerous assurances from election officials to the contrary.

Voter fraud is a felony, extremely rare and swiftly prosecuted. Even by mail, reports are so infrequent as to be “not statistically meaningful,” election experts told NPR reporter Miles Parks.

Voting by mail is used by members of both parties and favors neither. There is no such thing as an “unsolicited” ballot; administrators regard a voter registration as a ballot request. Some states mail one ballot to each registered voter (universal); others do so by written request. Mail ballots are kept secure and undergo the same process of verification as in-person ballots.

Mail ballots are printed on special paper with formatting specific to precinct. It is virtually impossible to disrupt an election by counterfeiting ballots.

The nationwide attitude toward vote-by-mail is positive: Seventy percent of Americans are in favor, with both parties represented, according to the Pew Research Center.

With the pandemic, voting by mail will surge. Election officials see little reason to expect that fraud will likewise.

Naturally, it takes longer to open, verify and count mail ballots than to run voting machines. Be prepared to wait for results. A careful count may take days, possibly weeks. Hopefully, we agree that thoroughness is paramount and not an indication of foul play. We must guard against any attempt to undermine or abbreviate the process.

Americans may not be known for patience; we are known for cherishing our free and fair elections.

Laura Lander

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