Because Washington state now votes by mail, elections here tend to play out, at an agonizingly slow speed, over many days and, sometimes, weeks.”

Jonathan Raban, Author

Pros and Cons of Voting by Mail

advantages and disadvantages of voting by mail

Voting by mail has become increasingly popular over the past in years in many countries all over the world. Many people don’t want to vote in person anymore, they just want to engage in postal voting instead.

Apart from the many advantages of postal voting, there are also some issues related to this concept. In this article, the pros and cons of voting by mail are examined.

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Advantages of Voting by Mail

  1. Voting by mail can be convenient
  2. You can save time
  3. You can inform yourself while you fill out your ballot paper
  4. You can fill out your ballot paper without having time pressure
  5. You don’t have to wait in line at polling locations
  6. Postal voting may lead to higher voter turnout
  7. Can be used by candidates in a strategic manner
  8. An increasing number of people likes in-mail voting
  9. Mail-in voting can help to avoid the spread of diseases
  10. Voting by mail is often cheaper

Voting by mail can be convenient

One key advantage of voting by mail is that it can be quite convenient. Instead of having to attend a polling station, you can just fill out your ballot paper at home on your couch. You can also decide when you are in the right mood to make this important decision instead of having to attend the polling station on a specific day.

This also gives you the opportunity to do things that are more fun to you on this day since you already voted and do no longer have to attend the polling station anymore.

You can save time

You can also save yourself plenty of time through mail-in voting. You don’t have to drive to your local polling station and find a parking spot. This will not only save you time, but it can also help our environment since you can save harmful emissions.

In turn, you can reduce the air pollution problem and also contribute to slow down global warming by using absentee ballots.

You can inform yourself while you fill out your ballot paper

Since you are location-independent and can fill out your ballot paper from wherever you want, you can sit on your couch and inform yourself about the different candidates using your laptop or your mobile device before actually filling out your ballot paper.

In this way, you can make a profound and informed decision and your voting behavior will be in line with your preferences and wishes for your future.

You can fill out your ballot paper without having time pressure

Another benefit of mail-in voting is that you will also have sufficient time to fill out your ballot paper. Many polling locations are often quite crowded and you will only have a rather limited amount of time to vote there.

Moreover, you may also feel rushed and your overall voting decision may get influenced by that. Thus, instead of voting at a polling station, you could conveniently vote by mail and avoid all this trouble.

You don’t have to wait in line at polling locations

Through mail-in voting, you also don’t have to wait in line in polling stations. Quite often, the lines at polling stations are quite long and you will often have to wait a long time until you are ready to vote.

This can not only be quite exhausting, it will also prevent you to do things that you would like more during this time. Hence, in order to use your time in a more efficient manner, voting by mail may be the way to go for you.

Postal voting may lead to higher voter turnout

The level of convenience and laziness in our society increases on a steady basis and if people have to attend a polling station in person, chances are that they will not take this effort.

However, if we give them the opportunity to vote by mail, they don’t even have to leave their house and chances are that the overall voter turnout will be higher due to that.

Can be used by candidates in a strategic manner

Mail-in voting can also be used by political candidates in a certain manner. Quite often, people who vote by mail share certain common characteristics and candidates may try to exploit this fact by sending those people certain flyers with suitable information to their homes. In turn, the chances to get the votes of those people may increase significantly.

An increasing number of people likes in-mail voting

Another argument for voting by mail is that many people use it. Over the past years, the fraction of people who used mail-in voting increased substantially and in order to give people what they want, we should maintain or even expand the idea of voting by mail.

Mail-in voting can help to avoid the spread of diseases

Especially in times of epidemics or even pandemics, voting by mail can also greatly help to avoid the spread of diseases. This is crucial in order to be able to get those diseases under control and to protect as many people as possible from the serious potential health effects. Even in normal times, voting by mail can also help to avoid the spread of rather harmful diseases like the flu.

Voting by mail is often cheaper

Voting by mail is also much cheaper for the local population. People don’t have to use their cars to get to the polling station, which can save them significant amounts of fuel, especially in remote parts of our planet where people have to drive serious distances to get to the next polling station.

Moreover, people can also save plenty of time. Time is money and time-savings also indirectly translate into money-savings since people can work instead of waiting in line at polling stations.

Disadvantages of Postal Voting

  1. Absentee ballots may lead to less accurate polls and forecasts
  2. Postal voting can make people lazy
  3. Some people may forget to vote
  4. Some people don’t vote in the correct manner
  5. Voting by mail may leave more room for manipulation
  6. Not accepted in some countries of our planet
  7. Some people just enjoy voting in person
  8. May benefit certain candidates more than others
  9. Other people may heavily influence your decision
  10. Some administration efforts are necessary to offer postal voting
  11. Tradition of personal voting is lost
  12. It may take longer to count votes
  13. Some votes may get lost in the mailing process

Absentee ballots may lead to less accurate polls and forecasts

Apart from the many upsides of mail-in voting, voting by mail also has serious problems. One disadvantage of voting by mail is that it implies less accurate polls and forecasts. After the polling stations are closed, polls are conducted in order to predict the outcome of the election.

However, if there is a high fraction of mail-in voters, chances are that those polls will be rather inaccurate and useless in some cases.

Postal voting can make people lazy

Although voting by mail can be quite convenient, it can also make people quite lazy. If people do not even have to leave their house to vote, chances are that they spend far too much time on their couch and exercise not enough. In turn, obesity and serious health issues become much more likely.

Therefore, in order to avoid those issues for the general public, abandoning voting by mail may be a good measure to increase the overall fitness level of the local population.

Some people may forget to vote

If you vote by mail, it may also become more likely that you simply forget to vote. You may get your ballot paper by mail on a stressful day and may not have time to deal with it on this day. However, chances are that over time, you will forget about it and therefore, a higher number of people may simply forget to vote.

Some people don’t vote in the correct manner

Voting by mail may also increase the chances of invalid votes. People may not read through the information on how to fill out the ballot paper in a correct manner and therefore, an excessive number of votes may not count for the end result of an election.

Voting by mail may leave more room for manipulation

Since people don’t have to attend polling stations in person and don’t have to show their ID, chances are that there will also be more room for election manipulation. This is especially true in countries with rather lax regulations regarding the safety of elections and many votes may just be fake votes, but may still be counted for the end result of the election.

Not accepted in some countries of our planet

Even though voting by mail is possible in many countries of our planet, some countries also do not offer mail-in voting at all due to safety concerns or several other reasons. Hence, if you live in one of those countries, you will have no choice other than to vote in person.

Some people just enjoy voting in person

Many people are also just so used to voting in person that they don’t want to make a change towards mail-in voting anymore. For many people, voting has become an enjoyable tradition and some of those people would just not accept the concept of mail-in voting at all.

May benefit certain candidates more than others

Certain demographics are much more likely to vote by mail than others. For instance, if people who are no longer able to leave their house due to various reasons are more likely to vote for a certain candidate, this candidate would lose significant numbers of votes if there was no opportunity to vote by mail.

Thus, through the introduction of mail-in voting, the chances of some candidates may benefit while others may suffer.

Other people may heavily influence your decision

Another problem of mail-in voting is that voting decisions of people can be greatly influenced by their family or friends. In fact, if you vote by mail, chances are that your peers will greatly affect your voting decision. In extreme cases, people may even be forced to vote for a certain candidate by other people.

Some administration efforts are necessary to offer postal voting

In order to count the votes from mail-in voting and to assure the validity of the voting process, there will also be significant administrative work related to it. In turn, municipalities or governments may have to spend additional money in order to make voting by mail possible.

Tradition of personal voting is lost

Opponents of voting by mail also often claim that voting in person is simply a tradition for many people and that we should not break with this tradition. Hence, in order to preserve the traditional nature of elections, voting in person instead of voting by mail may be a better idea.

It may take longer to count votes

Through mail-in voting, it may also take longer to count the votes and to determine the final outcome of an election. Hence, the general public as well as the candidates will have to wait longer for the final result.

Some votes may get lost in the mailing process

Nothing is perfect and this is also true for our mail. Sooner or later, some mails will get lost and therefore, some votes will also not be counted for the end results of an election. Even though the number of lost votes will be rather low, they could still have made a difference in pretty close elections.

Top 10 Voting by Mail Pros & Cons – Summary List

Voting by Mail ProsVoting by Mail Cons
Voting by mail can be quite convenientVoting by mail can favor some candidates
No time pressure with mail-in votingPeople may get lazy
You don’t have to wait in linePeople may be heavily influenced by others
You don’t have to drive to a polling stationMail-in voting can make you forget to vote
You can save plenty of timeNot allowed in some countries
Can help you to inform yourself before you voteVoting in person can be a nice tradition
You will not be in a rush to fill the ballot paperSome people just don’t like the concept
Increasing number of people want itIt will take longer to count the votes
Postal voting can be cheaperSome votes may get lost in the mail
Mail-in voting can lead to higher voter turnoutHigher chances for election manipulation

Should You Vote By Mail?

As we have seen before, voting by mail has many advantages and disadvantages. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to vote by mail or not according to your individual preferences.

However, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of mail-in voting of this article in order to make a profound decision.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_voting

https://www.lavote.net/home/voting-elections/voting-options/vote-by-mail/how-to-vote-by-mail

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-vote-by-mail-ballot-counted-election/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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