How is Postal Voting a bad idea?

Continuing the discussion from Serious Political Pictures:

Given that voting by mail is a decades-old practise in many democracies, including the United States. How is postal voting a bad idea @bojack ?

I’ve written about this before here. The short version is that USPS service is unreliable when mailing cash or other valuables.

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But money isn’t votes.

Can I not use DHL? Registered mail?


Submitting ballots on behalf of others is the first thing that comes to mind.


No, illegal in the US to use private mail to deliver ballots to a polling station. Probably a combination of anti-graft and the lack of serious Fed postal laws outside USPS.

Also, neither of those options would necessarily prevent voter fraud. Would probably require a new class of mail reserved for ballot use exclusively.

There was an article floating around recently about a vote scammer laying out both the ease and the pervasive use of mail-in ballot fraud in elections of the past quarter century.

That would certainly be an issue, but that seems like a lot of extremely hard work to go and ensure that the private information of thousands of voters is matched correctly.

Doesn’t sound like it would scale very well.

Lilith got something to vote for in the mail. She doesn’t care. Her mom voted for her.

I would think this would happen, I don’t think this is in the spirit of how voting should work.

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I did too. It’s our referendum.

But that isn’t something that scales well too. It’s just Lilith not respecting democracy and handing it to her mum, which is illegal, but not a concerted effort to change the election.

In that context it may be hard.

If I was thinking of doing voter fraud I would focus on people I knew. Maybe I know several family members or close friends who won’t be voting. I know all their details, it wouldn’t be hard to do it that way.

I think family voting for other family members is a real concern. It ruins the legitimacy of voting.


(I haven’t done enough research to determine the legitimacy of these tactics or if they are a serious concern, but feel like we already have had cases of mail in voter fraud at the state level [source needed, but I feel like the story was for a republican candidate?])

But surely these are all concerns:

  • Submitting ballots for other people (people who are either dead, or wouldn’t have voted otherwise)
  • Withholding ballots from people who did vote, so that it’s never counted (whether they are accidentally lost in our semi-unreliable mailing system, or a rogue actor purposefully misplacing them)

I think the USA already has a difficult time correctly “IDing” people at in-person voting booths… to do it by mail seems like a cluster f**k.

Not to mention that then the results of the election could end up spanning weeks/months (you can bet that the loosing party is going to be investing big $$ into making sure that all votes are counted and “found” weeks / months after the election).

Just overall seems very messy… I know it works in other countries but I don’t think it would work well in the US

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You can authorise someone to vote in place of you in many countries, but they have to vote the way you tell them to.

It’s a good point. But it’s hardly wide-scale.

It’s still an issue. And people can do it without each other’s consent. You really think there wouldn’t be people doing this?

How do you know?

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If it’s that easy for Lilith’s mum to vote on her behalf you should be able to see how easy it is to commit voting fraud on a large scale.


How would one scale such a programme up an entire nation?

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I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I don’t think it happens to such a scale that would completely go against what people really want.

:arrow_up_small: This.

The younguns peacefully assaulting others and peacefully burning down city centers can’t even be bothered to move out of mom’s basement. Seems likely they’ll also ask her to fill out their ballots.

Seeing how about half the voting population don’t even vote, that’s a lot of empty ballots going out. It wouldn’t be that hard for a single person in a family to mail out a couple ballots with or without the others knowledge.

There’s no system in check to really prevent this besides saying it’s not allowed. Making something illegal isn’t very good at preventing that act in all criminology research I’ve looked at, what prevents it is the chance of being caught. I don’t see how we can catch anyone doing this.


Quite easily, but better not to go into it on a public forum.