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Do mail in ballots put you at risk for identity theft

Does Mailing in Your 2020 Ballot Really Put Your Private Information at Risk?

2020 has been nothing shy of a whirlwind of a year, so why would the presidential election be any different?  In 2016, approximately 33 million ballots were cast by mail. As of today, approximately 53.7 million mail in ballots have been counted; and that’s not including the ones that will be opened and counted on Election Day. As Americans, most of us look forward to the day we weigh in and cast our ballots. Part of the voter experience has typically been: show up, wait in line, cast your vote and walk out proudly displaying your patriotism with the “I Voted” sticker affixed to your shirt. Sadly, along with so many other things, this tried and true tradition has been indelibly impacted by COVID-19.  And in an effort to stay safe and healthy millions of people have opted to vote by mail.

Although voting by mail is not new, Americans are perhaps more anxious than ever about their absentee ballot being counted. It is safe to say that this is arguably one of the most intense presidential elections in recent memory with the outcome leading our Country down distinctly different paths. Talk of illegal voting, voting discrimination and ballot and mail theft are top of mind. The media reports of absentee ballots stolen, misplaced and destroyed have been all over the news. Some examples include 50,000 voters receiving the wrong ballot by mail in Franklin county, Ohio, nearly 100,000 ballots being re-sent to NY State voters after a large number of names and addresses were printed incorrectly and a mail carrier in New Jersey being charged after dumping hundreds of items which included a number of ballots. So what does this all mean?


Sensitive Information Up for Grabs

Whether you voted by mail or not, your private mail has been in an increasing amount of danger. The criminals who target business and personal mailboxes are mining for gold. Health insurance, credit card and benefit information, statements and live checks…even ballots all up for grabs. When incoming and outgoing mail is not secured there is no telling where these important, often vital pieces of mail may be headed. For the time being and perhaps the near future, the safest and most secure way to send your ballot and all other mail is to take it directly to the local postal service. Additionally, consider a locking mail receptacle for incoming mail. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia offer an online ballot tracking service. If you or somebody you know has voted via mail this election considering checking the status of your ballot just to be sure. If you believe you are a victim of ballot theft contact your local election office to get information on what to do.

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