NBC News: Voting by mail is racist and ageist — vote in-person to make your vote count

According to a report in NBC News, voting by mail is racist and ageist because absentee ballots made by people of color and younger voters have a higher chance of having their mail-in ballots thrown away or disqualified.

According to research from Daniel A. Smith of the University of Flordia:

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.

“We’re in a crazy world where there’s this trade-off between our health and our vote. I understand completely why people want to vote by mail — it’s by far the safest method of voting. But it’s one that’s not costless,” says Smith.

Smith says he plans to vote in-person in November to make sure his vote is counted, saying, “I’ll don my PPE” referring to personal protective equipment.

“Smith’s research — which is ongoing — has found that people of color, younger voters and those who have never voted by mail are significantly more likely to have their ballots rejected, and that the inconsistent rejection rates within states suggest institutional issues are to blame, not voter error,” says the article. 

Also, NBC News reports:

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.

So, this November, to make sure your vote counts, vote in-person.

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