Davis: Three Common Problems from Tuesday’s Vote-By-Mail Primaries that Every State Needs to Know

Jun 4, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Committee on House Administration top Republican and Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Elections Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released this statement after states across the country struggle to conduct primaries with expanded mail-in voting. Davis plans to explore many of these issues during the subcommittee's planned hearing next week.
 
“Tuesday's primaries, held in red and blue states alike, demonstrated just how complicated implementing a vote-by-mail process is and how if not done properly, can unintentionally disenfranchise many voters,” said Davis. “Confusion among voters, fewer in-person voting locations, overwhelmed election administrators, and unsecure election processes are issues reported from this week's primaries that every state needs to look at and work to address before November or risk disenfranchising voters. Unfortunately, Democrats have presented this as a foolproof option to the American people and we saw on Tuesday that this is just not the case. Instead, states need to be realistic and plan accordingly.”
 
Three main problems reported from last night’s primaries that risk disenfranchising voters:

Voter Confusion

  • Washington, D.C.Pennsylvania, and Indiana had reports of voters applying several times for mail-in ballots, duplicate ballots, many ballots that were not signed, and many other issues. 

Fewer Polling Locations Lead to Long Lines

  • In Washington, DC, the number of polling places were significantly reduced from 144 to 20, which led to long lines. 
  • In Maryland, limited in-person voting locations resulted in long lines and clustering of voters, the very situation that election officials hoped to avoid by scaling up vote-by-mail in the first place. 

Overwhelmed Election Administrators & Post Office

  • Reports of voters not receiving ballots or struggling to submit requests were prominent in DC, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
  • Additionally, Indiana reported post office delays, which delayed ballots being delivered to voters.
  • In D.C., election officials decided at the last minute to allow unreceived mail ballots to be hand-delivered to voters, as well as allowing some voters to submit their ballots by email. Democrats have consistently said that submitting ballots electronically is unsecure. 
  • D.C. election officials also apparently had difficulty communicating with police, who issued dispersal orders to voters standing in line.
  • The Baltimore Sun is reporting Maryland’s Lt. Gov. is calling on the state board of elections administrator to resign after mail-in primary and special election problems resulted in 75,000 ballots disappearing from the state’s website, ballots containing inaccurate postage instructions, ballots arriving weeks late, multiple ballots being mailed to the same household, and long lines holding up voter return data.
116th Congress