A simple detail from WA and OR elections prove that mail-in voting isn't a partisan fraud conspiracy
Image by Suzi Wilson from Pixabay

As a resident of Washington state, where voters have been able to vote by mail for all elections for nearly a decade, I've been watching recent debates over voting systems with fascination.

People tend to forget that Washington is even up here in the corner of the country, so it's a little weird to suddenly be getting so much attention for the way we vote. But what's funny is that our system is getting attention only on a surface level. Like, people are paying attention to the idea of mail-in voting—with some totally freaking out over it—but most are not actually paying attention to any of the details of our voting system or election results.


Since the President started harping on mail-in voting being "RIPE for FRAUD," here's the gist of conversations I've been seeing:

"Mail-in voting is a good option for upcoming elections since we don't know if it will be safe to send people to the polls."

"What?! No! There's too much opportunity for widespread fraud with mail-in ballots!"

"But what about the states who have done all mail-in voting for years without widespread fraud?"

"Those are all 'blue' states! Clearly mail-in voting is a big Democrat conspiracy to win elections!"

The total jump over logic aside, there's some simple proof up here in the Northwest that the Democrats-cheat-by-mail argument bears no weight.

Let's look at Washington and our neighbor to the south, Oregon—two states with all mail-in voting. Most would consider these states pretty solidly "blue," right? (They're not solid blue, but that's another discussion. Just stick with me here.)

On a state level, elections are run by the Secretary of State. These elected officials control and oversee the running of elections—local, state, and national. They are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the election, the privacy and validity of ballots, and voter registration. They are in charge of election security, and by extension, voter fraud.

So who is Washington's Secretary of State? Her name is Kim Wyman. She was elected by the people of Washington state in 2012 and 2016.

Who cares, you ask? Well, Kim Wyman is a Republican.

Oregon's Secretary of State is named Bev Clarno. She's been serving since March 31, 2019—and she's also a Republican. She was appointed to the position after her predecessor, Dennis Richardson, passed away while in office. He had been elected by the people of Oregon in 2016.

And yep. He was also a Republican. How about that.

Riddle me this: If mail-in voting is some big conspiracy by Democrats to steal elections, how is it that both of these predominantly blue states elected Republicans to oversee their elections? I mean, if there's really fraud here that's actually impacting election results, wouldn't those sneaky, conniving Democrats at least make sure to elect a Democrat to the position charged with election integrity and validity?

Oh oh oh and—if there was really was widespread voter fraud among Democrats in these states, don't you think the Republicans who are in charge of the elections would be sounding the alarm?

Yes, of course they would. But they're not. Because it's not happening.

Kim Wyman—again, Washington's Republican Secretary of State who oversees elections—has said that the idea that widespread voter fraud is rampant in the U.S. is "ludicrous on its face." And Washington, with it's decade-long experience with mail-in voting, ranks #2 in Harvard University's Electoral Integrity Project—an ongoing study that surveys hundreds of election experts on how each state fares in its electoral processes.

Does this mean that voter fraud doesn't exist at all? Of course not. But it does mean that there's nothing inherently favorable to Democrats in a mail-in system. Washington and Oregon have spent many years improving the process and the security of the process of voting this way, implementing hundreds of safeguards at various levels to make sure voting happens as it should.

No system or safeguard is 100% foolproof. Voter ID laws can be gamed with fake IDs. Signatures can be forged if someone practices hard. Electronic voting machines can be hacked. Election officials can be bribed. Pollsters can "lose" ballots.

Any number of things can happen in an election, and they very occasionally do. There is evidence of voter fraud, but it's by no means rampant or widespread.

Even if you look at the conservative Heritage Foundation's voter fraud website, you'll find around 1200 incidents of voter fraud. But that's for the entire country, and over a 20-year period, which includes billions of voting instances. They state that it's not an exhaustive list, but if they're trying to make the point that voter fraud is a concern, they'd surely list just about every instance they can find. Even if it's twice or three times what they list, that's still a teensy-tiny, bunch-of-zeroes-after-the-decimal-point, fraction of of a percent of total votes—by no definition "rampant."

Not to mention, voter fraud and election tampering are actual crimes, punishable by law, and I personally don't believe that there's a huge, widespread swath of Americans chomping at the bit to criminally cheat in an election. This deep distrust of our fellow Americans due to partisanship is gross and needs to stop.

Bottom line: The fact that voters in both of these predominantly blue states elected—by mail—Republican officials to be in charge of their elections seems like more than adequate proof that well-orchestrated mail-in ballot systems can work beautifully and fairly, regardless of party loyalties.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.