A record number of people are expected to vote in the U.S. presidential election this year by mail due to the corona epidemic.

New York Times reviews according to about 80 million people will use postal voting. In the 2016 presidential election, 33 million people voted by mail.

President Donald Trump has argued that postal voting will lead to widespread electoral fraud.

“Thousands and thousands of people are sitting in someone’s living rooms and writing ballot papers,” Trump claimed in the spring.

University of Arizona information collected by the according to all elections held between 2000 and 2012, 491 cases of fraud were found in postal votes. A total of billions of votes had been cast.

The 2016 presidential election found four proven postal voting scam. In one case, the wife had voted with the ballot paper of her already deceased husband.

Blue transition

President Trump’s concern about the increase in postal voting is justified. At least politically.

On election day, Republicans have been found to vote more enthusiastically. When the first, preliminary result on election night is announced, it will be tilted to the Republicans, who are red – in this case, Trump.

Democrats in blue vote more by mail, and those votes are counted later. It can lead to the temptation for a Republican candidate to claim the result to be illegal and distorted if he happens to lose in the final count.

This so-called blue transition (blue shift) is due to the fact that young people, those on lower incomes and those who change their place of residence, among others, are more likely to vote by post and are also more likely to vote for Democrats.

Democracy Fund and the University of California in the study it turned out that in the upcoming presidential election, 48 percent of Democrats plan to vote by mail, compared to only 23 percent of Republicans.

Is Trump trying to sabotage the postal vote?

With the number of postal votes appearing to be rising tremendously, the already distressed U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may not survive the contract with honor. Late votes are not counted.

The USPS is a government agency, and Trump recently appointed its unwavering supporter to lead it Louis DeJoyn.

DeJoy has donated $ 1.2 million, more than a million euros, to Trump’s election fund. He was the first political appointment to lead the post in more than 20 years.

Right at the start of his term in July, DeJoy announced that the post office would shut down more than 600 huge sorting machines, about 10 percent of its total capacity.

If postal votes do not arrive on time, it will be of clear benefit to the incumbent President.

Trump has been surprisingly open about it. He said in August that it does not intend to provide the post office with the much-needed additional funding it needs, as an improved postal service would help Democrats in the election.

Trump is not committed to a change of power

On Sept. 23, a reporter asked President Trump if he would commit to a “peaceful change of power”.

– If you get rid of postal voices, things will stay calm. Otherwise, power won’t change, Trump said.

Chairman of the Federal Electoral Commission Ellen Weintraub responded immediately with a tweet.

– In case the practice is unclear to someone, we do not get rid of the votes, we count them. Counting the votes – of all the votes – is the way we decide who will lead our country after the election, Weintraub wrote.

After Trump had hinted that the transfer of power might not be peaceful, Senator John Cornyn said the president’s comment was irrelevant. Senator Ben Sasse said Trump’s statement was crazy stuff, and the senator Mitt Romney said Trump’s idea is not acceptable.

All three senators represent Trump’s own party, the Republicans.

This is how postal voting works

There are two types of postal tones in the United States. The other closely corresponds to Finnish advance voting (absentee ballot). A person absent from his or her registered office on election day may vote by post. These include those in the military and the merchant navy.

Even astronauts from the International Space Station can vote. This does not happen, of course, by letters but by encrypted emails.

Traditional postal voting (mail-in ballot) practices vary from state to state. In some states, a voter must ask the local election authorities in advance for a postal vote.

Five states (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington) have postal-only voting.

Envelope signature

The basic pattern of postal voting is the same in all states. Electoral authorities send the voter a ballot paper and a return envelope with a unique barcode printed on it.

Everyone has had to register as a voter, and at the same time he or she has provided a sample signature. The voter marks the return envelope with his or her signature and inserts it into the mail. Ballot envelopes can also be returned to collection points.

When the envelope then arrives at the election authorities, the barcode retrieves a sample of the voter’s signature and compares it to the signature on the envelope.

In the 2016 presidential election, 318,728 postal votes were rejected. That was about one percent of all postal votes cast.

Problems with autographs the biggest reason for rejection

The main reason for the rejections was that the signature on the envelope did not correspond to the sample provided at registration (28%) or that the postal vote did not arrive on time (23%). About 20 percent of the envelopes were unsigned.

In 1.5 percent, the rejection was due to the fact that the voter had accumulated to die before the counting date. 1.3 per cent were rejected because the postal voter had also voted in person on election day, i.e. tried to vote twice.