Americans abroad are waiting to see if the ballots they mailed arrive

Oct 28, 2020 Travel News

Americans abroad are waiting to see if the ballots they mailed arrive

State election officials, as well as legal and technology experts and some nonprofit groups that promote voting, have argued that the electronic delivery of ballots raises security and privacy concerns and that changing the rules if near the election would place an excessive burden on election officials and confuse voters. Earlier this year, several federal agencies issued guidelines classifying the return of electronic ballots as high risk.

J. Remy Green, one of the attorneys who brought the case, said electronic voting via the internet or apps should not be confused with the electronic transmission of ballots, which is more difficult to hack because it involves individual email accounts and fax transmissions, and that the security risk was outweighed by the benefits to voters abroad. The Department of Defense even provides a free e-mail-to-fax service to return the ballots abroad.

George Sorrells, an IT professional living outside Zurich, and his wife, Julie Sorrells, tracked their ballots in Wisconsin, only to find his had arrived but his had not. When Mr Sorrells investigated, he realized that he forgot to sign his wife’s ballot as a witness and that she would have to send a new one from Switzerland.

As the election approached, they sent out the second ballot via FedEx. Mr Sorrells, who spent nearly $ 80 in total returning their ballots, said it was worth making sure they arrived. But he said in some ways he would have felt more secure if there was an email option.

“I paid all that extra money to keep up with the stupid thing,” he said, “and then I found myself again for almost two weeks thinking, ‘OK, did this thing really do. successful or not? ‘ ‘

Dana Rawls, a Georgian voter who works in communications in Adelaide, Australia, said she had voted from the country without a problem since 2006, “but this year has been an absolute nightmare.”

After Georgia’s primary elections in June, Ms Rawls was dismayed to learn that the local election office never received her full ballot. She was determined that her vote would be counted in November.