MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There has been a strong push to have much of the voting in this year’s general election to be done via mail-in ballots, but that has been met with skepticism from many who think it will lead to widespread voter fraud.
However, Erik Herron, a West Virginia University political scientist, said there is no proof that would be the case.
I think the odds of it being widespread are incredibly low whether or not we use mail-in ballots in West Virginia. The incidents of election fraud in the United States are pretty well-documented, but also are pretty well-documented as being in small quantities. The issue with mail-in voting in West Virginia is converting over to a complete system of mail-in voting like — there are five states in the United States that have all mail-in voting.Erik Herron – WVU Political Scientist
Herron said the biggest concern is how to convert to an entirely mail-in system because that takes deliberation, time and money. Although, he notes that converting over to absentee ballots was something West Virginia did successfully in the June primaries.
The political scientist said there is a danger when skeptics of mail-in voting see an incident of fraud because they then assume it is widespread. However, he gave a recent example from the June primaries to prove otherwise.
“There was a postal carrier in Pendleton County who tried to alter some of the applications for absentee ballots,” Herron said. “But he was caught and that one example doesn’t mean that postal carriers are doing this in a widespread way, there’s no evidence that that’s happening, or that we have to be concerned about widespread voter fraud.”
Herron said West Virginia voters should take advantage of mail-in ballots because of the pandemic and added that they should also volunteer at their local polling stations if they can. He said he will be volunteering and would like other citizens to get in touch with their county clerks to see how they can get involved.
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