How to Commit Mail-In Voting Fraud (hint: it's nearly impossible)

1 min read

Editor's Note: this is the continuation of content from Mike Hamilton's commentary with CNET about mail voter fraud.

Election officials and the FBI say it's almost impossible to pull off fraud via mail-in ballots. Spreading disinformation about voting-by-mail is much easier.

Mail-in voting versus absentee voting: Differences to know before Election Day

"Nobody really has to successfully attack an election and demonstrate that votes were changed or ballots disappeared," said Mike Hamilton, a founder of Critical Insight and a former chief information security officer for Seattle. "You just have to raise enough doubt in people's minds."

The US Postal Service says it remains committed to delivering election mail on time, and it has been coordinating with local election officials, despite the many cuts to its services by the Trump administration.

The truth is, fraud associated with mail-in ballots is exceedingly rare, and when it does happen, it's minuscule enough that it wouldn't affect the outcome, election officials and experts said, noting there are safeguards in place.

How to get away with vote-by-mail fraud

Across the board, election security experts have pointed out just how difficult it would be to carry out election fraud on a scale large enough to actually affect the outcome. Printing a fake ballot would fall into the "nearly impossible" category. 

"The statement that other governments can print ballots and mail them to everybody is bullshit," Hamilton said. He pointed out that each ballot has a specific barcode generated and matched to the voter, with scanners being able to tell which votes are legitimate. "To print fake ballots with a matching barcode is not even possible." 

But in case you're curious, here's what you'd need to do to actually carry out voter fraud by mail and affect the outcome of an election. 

  1. Figure out every registered voter who requested a mail-in ballot
  2. Intercept the ballot
  3. Get good at forging signatures and really good at guessing 

Read the entire article on CNET here.