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House Advances Proposal Touting More Transparency With Mail-In Ballots

House Advances Proposal Touting More Transparency With Mail-In Ballots
An employee at the Utah County Election Office puts mail-in ballots into a container to register the vote in the midterm elections in Provo, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 17 November 2022 09:50 PM EST

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has advanced a potentially bipartisan measure that could bring more transparency to mail-in ballots for federal elections.

The proposal, known as the Vote By Mail Tracking Act, would require all mailed ballots to feature a barcode from the U.S. Postal Service, allowing officials to easily track the progress and whereabouts of each individual ballot.

Other requirements would involve a uniform envelope design and an official election mail logo.

Oversight committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., explained that a large number of congressional members were receptive to this proposal, as a means of more efficient ballot tracking.

"I can tell you that during the past election and in 2020, we got hundreds of phone calls from people trying to track their ballots; they wanted to make sure their ballots were cast and recorded," said Maloney. 

"Ensuring election officials and voters have the resources to track the status of their ballots would create even more peace of mind and confidence and further protect the sanctity of our elections," she added.

NBC News reports that more than 47 million people voted early in last week's midterm elections, and 55% of that sizable figure cast their ballots by mail.

The Republicans will assume majority control of the House chamber in January. In that vein, the GOP might be looking to push its own initiative for tracking mail-in ballots.

However, the House Democrats' proposal has intrigued a number of GOP members.

"I believe that increased use of mail-in ballots provides additional opportunities for election fraud, so I support equipping the postal service with the ability to track ballots through the mail," said Rep. James Comer, R-Ky.

The ranking member then added, "Another important benefit of this legislation is it will help protect the postal service from being blamed for election irregularities."

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., also favors more stringent oversight of mail-in ballots.

At the same time, Biggs doesn't think the House Democrats are addressing the core of the issue.

"This is good; but until you have some kind of voter identification attached to your mail-in ballot that's stronger than amateur handwriting experts assessing somebody's signature on the outside of an envelope, I think we're going to have a problem,” said Biggs.

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., said there's still "no way of verifying the legitimacy of the contents of that envelope. ... This provides a false sense of security across the country."

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Politics
The House Oversight and Reform Committee has advanced a potentially bipartisan measure that could bring more transparency to mail-in ballots for federal elections.
elections, voting
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2022-50-17
Thursday, 17 November 2022 09:50 PM
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