Voters who have died or have moved: doubts surrounding the US presidential election on November 3 will see an unprecedented number of Americans voting by mail because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the procedure has been validated by most American states, President Donald Trump and his supporters regularly express their fears about this system, which they accuse of promoting potential fraud. In recent weeks, several Internet users have shared photos showing bulletins they had received but intended for other people, and sometimes even for deceased people. Can these mistakes really influence the vote? Elements of answer with two experts of the American voting system.

On September 30, Internet user Richie McGiniss posted on Twitter a photo claiming to have received four ballots from Washington D.C for four people who no longer live at that address. Its publication thus provoked a wave of worried reactions, and was even relayed by Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press officer, calling this example a system “advocating fraud”.

On September 27, Tom Daniel, a Facebook user, also posted a photo of an automatically sent ballot to vote in New Jersey, claiming he had received it in error. In his # Trump2020 hashtag post, he explains that he has lived and voted in Florida since 2016, and urges other netizens to expose “fraud from states that automatically mail ballots.” He adds “we know which side is pushing for this”.

US President Donald Trump himself published at least eight tweets since September over what he calls “unwanted votes”, claiming that “80 million ballots” would have been sent by states and that “the mail-ballot scam is a major threat to our democracy, and the Democrats know it. ”

Newsletters sent to deceased persons

Other netizens have also said they have received bulletins for dead people, such as Twitter user Carolyn Quinn. She posted on October 6 a photo of ballots received in New Jersey and intended for her deceased parents, with the caption “Voter Fraud Alert.” Contacted by the editorial staff of France 24 Observers, she explains that both of her parents died last year. She sent France 24 documents attesting to their death.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic situation pushed 24 US states and the city of Washington D.C. to opt for the mail-in voting system, down from just 16 in 2016. The number of states sending ballots directly to registered voters also doubled, from five in 2016 to ten this year. The New York Times Explain that statistical data shows that more Democratic voters should vote by mail than Republican voters.

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