President Trump raised a few eyebrows Thursday, suggesting that the Nov. 3 election be put off because of his concerns over mail-in voting.
The president doesn’t have the power to delay elections. The U.S. Constitution gives the power to decide the “time, place and manner” of general elections to Congress. Still, the tweet is getting a lot of attention.
“With universal mail-in voting (Not absentee voting, which is good) 2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” the president tweeted.
The Oklahoma State Election Board said, at least here in Oklahoma, your ballot is safe.
“In Oklahoma, I think it’s a very safe and secure process,” State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said. “We have no excuse absentee voting in the state and have for many, many decades.”
In Oklahoma, there’s a chain of custody where voters must request absentee ballots. A voter who has requested an absentee ballot can only be sent one. Those ballots are sent by U.S. mail. It is up to the voter alone if they want to return his or her own ballot.
All signatures are verified and those ballots must be signed by the voter. Affidavits must be verified by a notary public or by two witnesses. During a COVID-19 state of emergency, voters may include a copy of their ID in lieu of the notarization or witnessing requirements.
Once the ballot is received, county election boards supervise the ballot’s processing. Ballots are then secured by the county sheriff and tabulation of absentee results cannot be completed until after polls close on Election Day. This ensures that absentee election results are not known or leaked before the polls close on Election Day.
“I think in Oklahoma you can say that voting mail absentee is a secure way to cast your ballot,” Ziriax said. “It is important though to remember not to wait until the last minute.”
Rules vary from state to state for when a voter can get their ballot and when it should be returned. In 2016, more than 73,000 ballots nationwide arrived too late to be counted.
“Make sure that it arrives at the county election board no later than the closing of the polls on Election Day,” Ziriax said.
The constitution is very clear: the president and vice presidents’ terms end on Jan. 20, whether there is an election or not.