Almost 2 million ballots were cast but not counted in the 2016 presidential race. And not just anyone’s ballot gets tossed. The chance of having your vote simply go uncounted, “spoiled,” is 900% higher if you’re Black than if you’re white.
Votes get challenged and discounted for a multitude of reasons. You used the wrong color pen, you put an “X” instead of filling in a bubble, you didn’t use the correct envelope, or you mailed it with one stamp, when the ballot required two, resulting in postage due. But one of the most egregious reasons your vote can get trashed is that your signature doesn’t match the one on file — the one you signed on the form when you first registered to vote perhaps several decades ago.
And since mail-in ballots are far easier to challenge than in-person votes, and with a vastly increased reliance on vote-by-mail due to problems caused by COVID-19, many more ballots are likely to be tossed in the electoral dumpster in 2020 than the staggering 1,913,369 “spoiled” ballots that ended up on the proverbial garbage heap in 2016.