The most compelling case against mail-in voting has nothing to do with fraud

A skeptic's case for traditional voting

(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

A showdown is coming. Stymied in their efforts to pass Build Back Better, House Democrats are moving forward with a pair of bills designed to standardize voting practices while increasing participation. Previously a skeptic about the possibility of eliminating or limiting the filibuster to pass voting legislation — and, realistically, perhaps still doomed to frustration on that point — President Biden embraced the tactic in his speech in Atlanta on Tuesday. According to Biden, nothing less than the future of democracy depends on the proposed reforms.

The package is pared down from Democrats' hopes, though. For example, the Freedom to Vote bill drops earlier proposals to establish public financing for congressional elections and includes a voter ID provision (albeit more flexible than many state requirements). Its core, though, represents an unprecedented nationalization and expansion of voting procedures, including federal mandates for at least 15 days of early voting and no-excuse mail ballots (which some states have long offered and others adopted during the pandemic).

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Samuel Goldman

Samuel Goldman is a national correspondent at He is also an associate professor of political science at George Washington University, where he is executive director of the John L. Loeb, Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom and director of the Politics & Values Program. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow in Religion, Ethics, & Politics at Princeton University. His books include God's Country: Christian Zionism in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and After Nationalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). In addition to academic research, Goldman's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.