I received my absentee ballot in the mail on Monday for the Maryland primary election, set for June 2, 2020. I completed the ballot this afternoon. I imagine it will be chaotic at the polls that day. So, I planned ahead and ordered my ballot a few weeks ago.
No, I won’t be mailing it back. I will be hand-delivering it to the Board of Elections. Mailed ballots are a big, yet benign, voter suppression method. People mail their ballots and yet won’t know whether the ballot was received or counted. The Montgomery County Board of Elections has an automated phone line to which I can call to confirm receipt of my ballot. I wonder if other jurisdictions have such a service. Voting has always been a big deal to me, and I have voted in every election for which I was eligible since my 18th birthday.
In 2016, experts have said approximately 512,000 mailed ballots weren’t counted. Over the past several elections, millions of mailed ballots were either lost or invalidated and not counted. This year, more than ever, we need every single vote. A lot is at stake. In addition to the Office of President, all of the House seats are up for grabs, and 35 Senate seats are open. The primary elections are key, but more importantly, the general election in November will be a hot target for voter suppression. Ergo, I will be hand delivering my ballot. The county election office is just about 3 miles from my home.
I have written about voter suppression tactics previously. I didn’t include mailed ballots as one of those tactics. I didn’t think of it then. I have low confidence that mailed ballots will be delivered. Everyone who plans to vote by mail should return the ballots in-person. We really need all votes to count, particularly since we know all eligible voters won’t be voting, for various reasons. But, that’s a topic for discussion on another day.