There seems to be a consensus among prominent news sources that mail-in voting does not significantly increase the likelihood of fraud.
- The BBC: "A voter fraud database collated by Arizona State University between 2000 and 2012, found 491 cases of postal ballot fraud out of hundreds of millions of votes."
- Reuters: "Voting by mail is not new in the United States — nearly 1 in 4 voters cast 2016 presidential ballots that way. Routine methods and the decentralized nature of U.S. elections make it very hard to interfere with mailed ballots, experts say."
- New York Times: "In states that have long embraced mail voting — such as Washington State, which has been mainly using mail balloting since 2005 — those running elections see no evidence of widespread fraud."
In spite of this, President Trump and some of his allies are unconvinced:
"...they have to be very careful because you know the things with bundling and all of the things that are happening with votes by mail where thousands of votes are gathered--and I'm not gonna say which party does it--but thousands of votes are gathered and they come in and they're dumped in a location and then all of a sudden you lose elections you think you're gonna win."
--President Trump at a press conference in April
"I'm not talking about a mail-in ballot for a limited number of cases where somebody, you know, is going to be traveling around the world, and the way that the state has provided for that is, you mail in your ballot," he said. "I'm talking about a comprehensive rule where all the ballots are essentially mail-in, and there's so many occasions for fraud there that cannot be policed."
--AG Bill Barr, as quoted by CNN last month
Is it true that mail-in ballots are more difficult to authenticate or that expanding vote by mail will make it easier for individuals to commit fraud? As a US citizen who votes, I've seen first hand how polling places operate and the security measures they have in place, however I have very little knowledge of how ballots or voting machines are secured once the polls are closed. Are the alleged security issues with mail-in ballots related to the ballots themselves, the processes involved in getting the ballots to the voters, or what happens to them after they're mailed back?
I could see how there could be some issues with ballots getting sent to the wrong address or getting lost in the mail after they're filed. I could also imagine a scenario where a group of vandals goes around breaking into mailboxes and pulling out ballots but I don't see how a covert, systematic effort that's large enough in scale to change the outcome of the election could go undetected.
To clarify, I'm not looking for ulterior motives that could make one argue for or against the use of mail-in ballots. I'm simply trying to ascertain the facts on both sides.