New report: Vote-by-mail fraud is rare and it doesn’t benefit Democrats

Polling places in Florida. Credit: Issac Morgan

Despite President Donald Trump’s criticisms and some Republicans suggesting the vote-by-mail method is likely to result in fraud and benefit Democrats more, a new report by Integrity Florida says otherwise.

The report titled “VBM: A Safe Option for Florida Voters” says voting-by-mail doesn’t help the Democratic Party, but it does result “in higher ballot rejection rates by minorities, young people and first-time voters.”

“Mail balloting may be slightly more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting, but in any case, existing research shows voting fraud in general is exceedingly rare,” said Ben Wilcox, research director of Integrity Florida. “We found little evidence of fraud.”

The nonprofit research organization held a Zoom press conference on Wednesday to release a variety of key findings from the report and found that mail ballots are increasingly used as the primary voting method in the United States, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Amid the global pandemic, “voters rely on mail ballots to avoid voting at a precinct or voting center with hundreds of potentially infectious people,” the report says.

The report also examined the 2018 election and found that two Florida counties – Broward and Palm Beach – had experienced alleged voting fraud and misconduct by elections officials.

“Both counties have a history of election problems going back to Palm Beach County’s infamous voter fraud ballot in the 2000 elections,” Wilcox said.

“This report finds the new appointed supervisors (of elections) have been working to address the problems those counties experienced in 2018. Palm Beach County has spent more than $15 million on new voting equipment.”

“Both supervisors conducted successful presidential primary elections in March but November’s general election will be the real test,” he continued.

The Florida Legislature had worked to improve Florida’s vote-by-mail system in the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions, according to Integrity Florida.

Florida is among 29 states where voters can vote-by-mail for any reason, compared to 16 states “where voters must specify a reason why they cannot go to the polls,” the report says.