Laura Hollis’s column on voter fraud with mailed ballots appeared the same day that The Honorable Edward Buchanan’s letter headlined “Vote Safely Wyoming” with instructions for voting by mail arrived.
Hollis’s column is full of scary details, but not good arguments.
The Heritage Foundation database she cites shows three convictions for voter fraud in Wyoming between 2002 and 2018. In Wyoming in the same 16 years, 1,963,808 people voted.
She reports The Heritage Foundation found that in four years there were 1,285 confirmed cases of voter fraud in the U.S. In the same four years, across the country 138 million people voted.
That’s not a lot of fraud. It’s a lot of poor participation.
Several reputable sources have contradicted the Public Interest Legal Foundation claim of 28 million missing ballots. Those ballots were mailed, but not voted and returned.
There’s plenty of evidence that voting by mail can increase voter participation. Hollis lists five states with mandatory mail-in voting; of those, two are among the top 10 in voter turn-out. Wyoming’s turnout in the 2018 general election was 46.4 percent of the voting age population.
Hollis also quotes Jessica Huseman’s ProPublica article. Here’s another sentence from the same article: “Experts say that, given enough preparation time, all votes could be safely cast by mail not only in Washington, Colorado, Hawaii and Utah but also in about 25 other states where voters can already request an absentee ballot for each election for any reason.“ Wyoming is one of those states.
The League of Women Voters of Wyoming has posted the citations supporting the points here (wyominglwv.org/Elections). Elections are managed by people. That means honest mistakes are possible. Our goal should be to make the numbers of people voting so large that a small percentage of fraud or error makes no difference. People need to be able to vote without fear of contagion. Voting by mail makes that possible. We need confidence in the process and our elections. We in the LWVWY salute Secretary of State Buchanan and the county clerks for their effort to make voting easy and safe.
SUSAN SIMPSON, League of Women Voters Wyoming President, Laramie
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!