2020 Election Credibility… Should You Be Worried?
By Craig Papajohn-Shaw
Volume 1 Issue 1
November 1, 2020
Image provided by Wix
With the 2020 Presidential election upon us, there have been rising concerns regarding the integrity of the election and whether the final results will be accepted. Joe Biden has expressly stated he would accept whatever the result was of a “free and fair election.” While on the other hand, President Trump made concerning remarks stating, “I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time,” with reference to the final result of the election. The uncertainty of the 2020 election process has caused some to question if their vote will be counted. The options of mail-in, absentee, early, and in-person voting has made an already tenuous voting season more stressful. Record highs of early voting has led to controversy on both political sides of the aisle regarding the credibility of this election. Over 63 million Americans had already cast their ballot at the time this article was written, compared to the 58 million pre-election ballots cast by election night in 2016. Americans are eager to have their voice heard in our democracy. The death of over 220,000 people in the United States has led to disputes concerning the handling of the pandemic causing some to question the leadership of President Trump and his administration. Misleading claims made by President Trump has also led to many Americans losing faith in the electoral process. From August to October, President Trump threatened to withhold funding from the United States Postal Service and claimed election interference from foreign nations will occur. Furthermore, he stated in the first presidential debate that, “this is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” referring to the upcoming election cycle. Frighteningly, both parties have insinuated to some extent that they may not concede the election if the opposing party wins or if foul play is suspected. Amid the concerns about election security, there have also been problems within the mail-in voting process. In late September, states such as Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania had issues, where over 200,000 voters combined were sent new ballots due to incorrectly labeled envelopes. Additionally, more states were altering their laws to encourage the use of mail-in ballots. Reports of an increased number of rejected ballots have led to the realization that directions for ballots are confusing for new voters to understand. Voters need to make certain that they follow the guidelines if voting by mail. If a voter’s ballot is not received by the deadline, the signature is missing, or if the signature is not a match, a mail-in ballot can be rejected. However, processes have been implemented to try and ensure a fair election. Each state has its process in collecting and counting ballots. Certain states such as Arizona, Florida, and California are allowed to start counting pre-election ballots two weeks before Election Day; other states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have mandates that prevent them from counting prior to Election Day. This suggests that a definite winner may not be announced on election night, causing problems to arise. However, with just four confirmed cases of voter fraud in 2016, and states implementing signature verification for mail-in ballots, voters should have confidence that their vote will be counted. The principle idea to remember is that only those who are registered can exercise their right to vote. In 2016, only 59 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. However, officials predict that the 2020 election will have a record turnout rate. Americans should be confident that their voice in democracy will be heard by utilizing their right to vote.