A thread on voting in-person vs. voting by mail. The best way to vote is always going to be voting in person. So if you feel it's safe and you're able to do so, vote in-person if possible. Why? Ballots cast by mail have a greater chance of being rejected. 1/6
You have to follow more directions to vote by mail than in person; any mistake can disqualify yr ballot. 1) You have to sign ballot envelope (and have witness also sign in some states). 2) In some states, like PA, you have to insert your ballot into 2 envelopes not just one. 2/6
3) Election staff have to match the signature on yr absentee envelope w/ sig they have on file for you. If they don't match, states vary in what happens next. Some contact you to give you chance to resolve discrepancy, or "cure" it, as it's called. 3/6
States vary in amount of time you have to "cure" signature discrepancy; if you don't do it in time, yr vote isn't counted. Ins some states, they don't even have to notify you when yr signature doesn't match so you never get chance to rectify it and have your ballot counted. 4/6
4) Most importantly when you vote by mail you don't get chance to rectify if you fill out ballot incorrectly or machine can't read it for some reason. When you vote in person, machine spits out ballot if you vote for too many candidates in race or stray marks confuse machine 5/6
When you vote by mail, if the machine rejects yr ballot for these reasons, you're not around to fix it. And election officials can't contact you to tell you machine rejected yr ballot because the ballot at this point is anonymous and no longer associated with yr name/sig. 6/6
I should have included stats for context. At what rate are mail-in ballots rejected or "lost" as they're called? In 2016, when mail-in ballots were a small fraction of ballots cast, about 1.4 million were "lost" — that's 4 % of mail ballots cast that year and 1 % of all ballots.
An interesting side note - in 2016 states that voted entirely by mail had a lower percentage of lost/rejected ballots compared to states that only allowed voters to cast ballots if they provided an "excuse" for needing to vote this way - 0.9 % ballots lost/rejected vs 1.8%
This suggests that both voters and election staff in states that vote only by mail have worked through the potential problems associated with this, and are better equipped to avoid mistakes, resulting in fewer ballots rejected.