- - Thursday, October 8, 2020

Media pundits continue to speculate on the possibility that President Trump might question the results of the upcoming election and use that as a reason for not leaving the White House if he loses. Few, however, seem to recognize that the nation will certainly face significant confusion about the election results as a result of mail-in voting — and it’s an uncertainty that might stretch into the weeks beyond election night.

Absentee voting has been used effectively for decades and follows well-established procedures. A voter applies for a ballot form by sending a signed application to their local voting organization, allowing officials to check the authenticity of the voter, and creating a paper trail. Such a procedure could not be more different from the one chosen by some Democratic localities, which have been sending blank ballots to every name and address on their voting register. This is a listing that may not have been checked in years. Besides the lack of a paper trail, there are now countless numbers of blank ballots floating in the wind, as the addressee may have moved, died or not been eligible to vote in the first place.

Add to these uncertainties the restrictions some local authorities have imposed by preventing their officials from processing ballots received early, despite the expected significant increase in mail-in voting. Inevitably the checks needed to verify the authenticity of postal ballots will delay the announcement of results, further enhancing opportunities for challenges.

Putting all these uncertainties together it is unlikely we will have a result that either side will accept on election night. With all the confusion being introduced by overstressed election officials responding to conflicting rules, the real question remaining is, Will we ever know the result?

STANLEY ORMAN



Rockville, Md.

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