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Experts: Vote by mail fraud not likely in Florida

President Donald Trump continues to raise questions about expanding vote by mail this election, going as far this weekend to suggest the results of the election would be rigged if vote-by-mail were allowed.

Voter groups like the League of Women voters disagree.

“Since 2000, more than 250 million votes have been cast via mailed out ballots,” LWV of Florida President Patricia Brigham said Monday.

Backing up its claim, the Trump Administration has cited a 2005 study by the Commission on Federal Election Reform chaired by former President Jimmy Carter. It warned mail ballots were at the highest risk for fraud, but earlier this year Carter came out in support of expanding vote by mail in light of the pandemic.

David Carroll, director of The Carter Center Democracy Program, said safeguards exist to fight back.

“Tracking the ballots, making sure that eligible citizens are requesting them, that there are ways to verify the identity of the ballots,” Carroll said.

Mark Earley, vice president of the association representing Florida’s supervisors of elections said those safeguards have worked in Florida.

“I know that there have been some very limited attempts at voter fraud here in Florida, but they’ve been caught,” Early said.

In opposition to some states’ plans to send every registered voter a mail ballot by default, the Trump Administration has pointed to a study by the Pew Center for the States that found one out of eight voters registration is inaccurate or no longer valid.

But in Florida, voters have to request mail ballots to the address they have on file.

“If someone’s dead or their registration expired or is invalid for some reason, they aren’t there to request it and they can’t sign it, we can’t validate it based upon their signature,” Earley said. “So the checks are in place to make sure that those kinds of situations are caught.”

Earley said with vote-by-mail is more likely a legitimate vote would be thrown out rather than a fraudulent one counted.

To ensure your vote is counted, supervisors recommend mailing ballots at least five days before election day or returning it in person. As an added protection you should track your ballot through your local supervisor of elections office.

Three weeks before Florida’s Aug. 18 primary, the Florida Department of Elections reports that 3,144,285 vote-by-mail ballots have been requested and 686,464 completed ballots have been returned.

Vote-by-mail ballots can be requested from your county supervisor of elections office through Aug. 8.