Expert says fraud fears unfounded as Illinois expands vote-by-mail

(The Center Square) – As the debate continues over the expansion of mail-in voting in Illinois, one expert said fears of widespread voter fraud are unfounded.

New laws in Illinois were enacted June 16 which requires state officials to automatically send vote by mail applications to people who have voted in recent elections. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the program is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is designed to keep voters away from the polls to prevent spreading the virus.

“In the face of a pandemic, massive economic upheaval, and renewed calls for racial justice, it’s more important than ever that Illinoisans can hold accountable a truly representative and transparent government, and that means ensuring all eligible residents can wield their right to vote in a way that doesn’t risk their personal health,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Northern Illinois University professor of political science Scott Schraufnagel said the main concern with vote-by-mail is what goes on in the home.

“What we worry about with mail-in voting is family pressure,” he said. “If the ballots show up on the same day and a husband and wife sit down to fill out their ballot and send it back in, maybe he is going to force her to vote the way he wants to vote.”

Schraufnagel said studies show that voter fraud has never occurred at a level that would affect a statewide or national election.

At a recent rally, President Donald Trump said Democrats were trying to rig the election by sending out tens of millions of mail-in ballots.

“This will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country, and we cannot let this happen,” Trump said.

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