Ann Mintz and Clifford Wagner have been struggling with indecision about the election for weeks. Their angst isn't over whom to vote for , the Philadelphia couple are Democrats who support Joe Biden. It is about how accurately they should cast their ballots.
They voted by mail without hesitation in the state's June primary. But now there are new considerations. Will a slowdown in the U.S. Postal Service make ballots arrive too late? Will technical mishaps filling out ballots lead to the vote not getting counted?
“The stakes are so high. We're putting a lot of thought into it,” the 65-year-old Wagner said.
Many voters who decided early in the coronavirus pandemic to cast their votes by mail have been rethinking their options as Election Day approaches. Nervousness about whether and when their ballots will be counted is leading some voters to increasingly strategize and analyze a decision that was once to them an obvious decision.
If voters who requested absentee ballots change their minds and try to vote on Election Day, they will find that it will not be easy at all .
In many states, switching from absentee to in-person requires a series of steps to cancel the absentee ballot.
“It puts a whole lot of pressure on already overburdened election officials,” said Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice.
Many Democratic groups trying to turn out voters have shifted their messaging from voting by mail to voting in person.
In Philadelphia, the result is an unhelpful “whiplash," said Al Schmidt, an elections commissioner in the city who worries about the unexpected impact.
“It adds to lines and has more people in polling places longer, which is what we're trying to avoid," he said.
President Trump has shown his concern of mail voting among GOP voters, making good points in the minds of many, but also frustrating some party strategists who worry the message could depress turnout.
Only time will tell how flawed the mail voting system really is and how it will affect the elections.