Does Party Affiliation On Mail Ballots Means Votes Can Be Suppressed?
Social media posts claiming that votes can be suppressed by virtue of party affiliation on the sleeves of the ballots have been circulating on the internet.
These posts are supported by an image of two mail-in ballots, with one containing D for Democrat and the other R for Republican. The words; "The post office knows which ballots are Dem v Rep. D for Dem, R for Rep." are on the picture.
According to USA TODAY, the image originated from a viral video posted on Facebook by Tina Brown of Palm Beach County.
In this video, which has now been deleted, Brown made a claim that she used the same address as a brother but the code on their mail-in ballots appeared different with a D for a brother and an R for her.
She further claimed that the code is there so that a "postal person" could tell which ballot to keep and which ballot to throw away. This speculation is false.
While the D and R on the envelope really refers to the Democratic and Republican party, this distinction only applies to the primary election in closed primary states where only registered party members can vote in their own primaries.
Only 13 states and Washington DC have closed primaries and Florida where Palm Beach County is located is one of them.
On the speculation by Brown, the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections clarified on the official election website that the identification will not be present for the general election in November where voters will only be allowed to vote for one candidate of their choice. Additionally, the supervisor stated that if voters were worried about their ballots, they could always use the "Track Your Vote-By-Mail" tool on the website.
In her response to USA TODAY, Brown cited the political climate in the country as the reason for her speculation. She also stated that even if the specification is not on the ballot for the general election, postal employees will never forget.
This response seems to be a derivative from Trump's speculation that the increase of mail-in voting will lead to an increase in voter fraud and ballot interference during the main election.
According to the official website of the Florida Department of State, domestic ballots for the general election will not be going out till September 24. Thus, the ballots in the picture are not for the general election.
The picture circulating on social media is out of context.