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Exploring voter fraud and its potential implications on the 2020 election

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As the U.S. celebrates the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, controversy looms over one of our country’s basic tenets, the ability to vote safely and fairly in the upcoming election.

"It's going to be a different election. We need to be adjusting to how it's going to be different, not fretting on whether it'll be different, it'll be different," said Bob Evans, Associate Professor of Political Science, Rockford University.

Election Day is less than three months away, and as the president raises questions over the validity of the mail-in ballot process, concerns over voter fraud plague many.

"We think of Election Day as Election Day, where you come and cast your vote. But the fact that there will be mail-in voting on such an unprecedented level, it's new to people. And because it's new and because voting is such a prized privilege, people are alarmed," said Evans.

Currently there are five states that only vote by mail and while Illinois focuses on in-person casting, political scientists say concern may come from the fear of not having their voice heard.

"I think it's just the unfamiliarity for some people that makes them worry about whether their vote gets counted or not. But I mean, it's going to the same place that your ballots would go if you voted in person," said Scot Schraufnagel, Professor of Political Science, Northern Illinois University.

As states gear up for an unprecedented election, experts say focus should be on voter turnout instead.

"I don't want to go on the record as saying there's no fraud. I mean, it happens. We have a hard enough time just getting people to vote, let alone take the time to figure out how to vote fraudulently. Just doesn't happen," said Schraufnagel.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say many states are preparing for increased vote by mail counts for November’s general election.

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