ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Know the difference between mail in ballots and absentee voting.
It’s no secret that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there are heightened concerns over social distancing and people gathering to vote. But it’s important to truly understand the difference between the other options which include absentee voting and mail-in ballots.
They sound similar, yet are in fact strikingly different. The simple explanation is that mass mall-in distribution of ballots to all registered voters is very different from when a voter requests an absentee ballot.
Absentee Voting: For nearly two decades, Floridians have been able to request a ballot be mailed to them. Once received, the voter completes the ballot and mails it back to the supervisor of elections in the preprinted envelope provided. In the past, the voter would have to pay for the postage to return the ballot. This changed in the past few years and the return ballot envelope comes with prepaid postage–obviously designed to encourage ease of voting from home.
Mail-in Ballots: As a result of the pandemic, many states have explored mail-in ballots. The staunch difference between a mail-in ballot and a requested absentee ballot is simple. A person that requests an absentee ballot is clearly then expecting to receive that ballot in the mail. On the contrary, mail-in ballots would be sent to ALL registered voters. So the proverbial red flag is obvious: The ballots could easily be harvested and taken from mail boxes and open a wide range of fraud opportunities.
An easy example to follow would be using today’s total number of registered voters in Orange County, Florida: 823,823. Let’s assume all registered voters would receive an unrequested mail-in ballot. With an 80% return rate, roughly 164,000 ballots would be out floating around with no real way of being accountable for them all.
Simply, for those who might want to steal ballots from mail boxes, knowing nearly all mail boxes would have ballots in them would be an opportunity for ballot harvesting and fraud. Certainly, with 2020 being such a heated election, keeping our voting processes safe and secure will and should be a priority.
How will you be voting?
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Randy Ross is a Florida National News political contributor.