Letter to the Editor: Mail-in voting is the most secure

The Dorchester Banner welcomes readers’ views on topics of public interest.

As we look forward to our Cambridge city election on Oct. 17, we have some unusual conditions for which we must prepare. For example, we do not know how COVID-19 is going to hit Cambridge in the fall.

All scientists and medical professionals are telling us that our country will most likely be inundated with COVID-19 patients. While Dorchester County has not been hard hit yet, it does not mean that we will not suffer from an increase in cases this autumn.

In addition, none of us knows who will be stricken with COVID-19. This presents a voting dilemma.
How will people who are stricken or exposed to COVID-19 vote? How many people will be willing to come to the polls if they believe they are risking exposure?

How will we get poll workers? Most poll workers are elderly, retired people; thus, they are at greater risk for becoming seriously ill if exposed to COVID-19.
This is a significant problem for our citizens of color, who are at much greater risk if exposed to the Coronavirus. It is vital that all Cambridge residents feel safe about casting their ballots.

There are tremendous advantages to voting by mail. The process allows senior citizens and people without transportation to vote. There is increased voter turnout and an automatic paper trail.
The City of Cambridge has hired a highly rated, 25-year-old firm to conduct this election, TrueBallot. To learn more, visit trueballot.com. The company description on their website reads:

TrueBallot, Inc. is a team of attorneys, election professionals, and computer engineers who design and run elections and referenda for labor unions, associations, public entities, and others…TrueBallot has designed and developed hardware and software solutions to ensure security, accuracy, and efficiency of every ballot.
I spoke with the developer and public information officer at True Ballot, Nick Koumoutseas. This is what he told me:
Each voter is assigned a randomized number. After receiving the blank ballot in the mail with the individual number, the voter fills out the ballot, signs a sworn statement, and places it in a “secrecy envelope.” That envelope then goes into the mailing envelope.

When the ballots are received by the post office, they are placed in a secure container. No post office employee will know whose ballot they are putting in the container or how any-one voted. Any ballots that have been opened would be obvious. Since there is a randomized ballot number, it would be clear whose vote had been hampered.
On election day, the ballots are removed from the lockbox and taken to a secure working space where they are registered and sorted by number. This provides another check against people voting twice. Photographs are taken of each ballot as they are counted. Therefore, there is a highly technical tracking system.

According to Mr. Koumoutseas, “You could not have a more trans-parent system.” Mr. Koumoutseas also said, “The reputation of our firm is worth more than any election.”
Both Republicans and Democrats across our country widely trust vote by mail; so much so that in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Utah, and North Dakota, most or all elec-tions are conducted by mail.

Voting by mail is a great option to have, particularly now that we must consider that many people will not vote if they must vote in person during the pandemic. In addition, it is a more secure process than voting by electronic machines because there is a paper trail.
It has been determined repeatedly that voter fraud is not a problem in our country. Voter suppression is our biggest problem. Voting by mail provides an easy solution and ensures that every single voter’s vote will be counted.

Susan Olsen
Cambridge