South Carolina Mail-in Ballots Ending Up in Maryland Raise Questions About Election Integrity


When the vote-by-mail controversy first reared its ugly head at the beginning of April, I didn’t know what to think. After all, I hadn’t considered the fact that voting in person might get the panic patrol into a hyperventilating state, but voting by mail could present serious fraud issues. Why wouldn’t the mainstream media just tell me what to believe already?

Well, thank God, The New York Times stepped into the breach on April 11 and assured me the only reason the Republicans were worried about vote-by-mail was because of malfeasance. Even though, um, the most prominent example of voter fraud in recent memory involved absentee ballots.

Experts pointed to “several documented voting fraud cases of recent decades involving mail or absentee ballots, most recently the race in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District in 2018, when an operative who rounded up absentee ballots for the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, was charged with election fraud. The practice is known as ballot harvesting.”

But seriously, it’s not an issue! The headline on the article said it all: “Trump Is Pushing a False Argument on Vote-by-Mail Fraud. Here Are the Facts.” Problem solved. Now, let me just wash my hands of the issue, making sure to sing “Happy Birthday” twice as I do it, and …

Wait, what’s that you say? A bunch of South Carolina’s primary ballots were found someplace they shouldn’t have been this past week? Well, I’m sure it was just a random misstep and they weren’t discovered too far off the beaten path. Where did they end up, anyhow?

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Maryland? Oh. Hrm.

According to the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier, the state is considering breaking ties with a printing firm it uses for absentee ballots after 20 of the ballots ended up a bit further north than they were supposed to. Those ballots have made their way to the appropriate voters at this point, but this is apparently only the latest problem the state has had with printer SeaChange Print Innovations.

“Some Greenville County voters received the wrong absentee ballots this year when the Democratic presidential primary and a special election for sheriff were held 10 days apart, S.C. Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said,” the newspaper reported Wednesday.

“Some Charleston County voters received ballots that were folded in a way that could make them tougher to read by scanning machines, he said.

Are mail-in ballots an invitation to election fraud?

“The latest mishap has left the state election agency with little confidence that SeaChange can handle the surge in absentee voting this year as people practice social distancing to avoid contracting the coronavirus, Whitmire said.”

According to Fox News, this isn’t the first problem South Carolina has experienced with mailed-in ballots.

In November 2018, Richland County didn’t count 1,040 votes, submitting results two days late in the Democratic primary because elections officials realized that they’d lost track of dozens of ballots.

Unbelievably, roughly the same thing happened in the presidential primary in March of this year, forcing a recount by hand.

But yeah, they’re ready.

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Now, let’s be real here: Except for candidates in the June 9 South Carolina primary for state and local seats, this isn’t going to make too much of a difference. However, extrapolate this to an entire country during a general election. This is the system Democrats want — and, along with it, the potential for ballot harvesting, the targeted collection of votes used by Democrats to win a whole panoply of seats in California back in 2018.

There’s also no denying that South Carolina is a key state in American politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory there in the Feb.29 Democratic primary set the stage for his sweeping victories on Super Tuesday, basically winning him the nomination.

The opportunities for fraud are clearly more numerous with a vote-by-mail election, but we’re told to ignore this. We’re also told to ignore the logistical concerns of doing this on a massive scale during one of the most important elections in our lifetime.

But yet, The New York Times is willing to vouchsafe to us that they’ll give us “the facts,” which means there’ll be no fraud, no concerns, nothing like that. Little critical reporting, too, has been given to the Democrats’ apparent decision to tie voting by mail to the next coronavirus relief package — although it’s been rebranded as “voting at home,” according to Fox News.

There’s a great irony here, inasmuch as we just came off a presidential election where the media was convinced the Russians were able to affect the outcome by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s poorly secured email system and by running a few Facebook advertisements.

If it’s that easy, though, then surely a vote-by-mail system would be profoundly simple for the bad actors in the Kremlin to take advantage of — unless, of course, the media and Democrats were never really worried about that.

In the meantime, an extremely problematic vote-by-mail system that opens us up to massive electoral fraud and almost no way to check the identity of who’s voting is being pushed as an antidote to a pandemic because voting in person is just too scary. (Going to the liquor store remains fine, though.)

Democrats believe vote-by-mail benefits them. Therefore, no matter what the security concerns, vote-by-mail must be pushed.

What happened with the stray South Carolina ballots will only be the tip of the iceberg if the Democrats are allowed to force “voting at home” on Americans in exchange for COVID-19 relief.

CORRECTION, May 25, 2020: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect date for South Carolina’s Feb. 29 Democratic presidential primary.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture