Columbia Journalism Investigations conducted the analysis on the premise that the ballot-rejection rate for the 2020 election will be about the same in each county as it was in the 2016 election.
There were 300,000 mail-in ballots rejected in 2016, when Americans cast only 41 million votes through the mail, which shows a 0.7 percent rejection rate.
But in the 2020 election, about 80 million Americans have requested to vote by mail.
If there were 1.03 million rejections, as the modelers estimate, then 1.2 percent of all votes would not be counted.
“This assumption is likely problematic,” the authors said, noting that many poorer and younger demographics, who are more likely to incorrectly complete their ballots, will vote by mail in 2020 than in 2016, so the rejection rate could rise this election.
Other factors this election could cause a major uptick in rejected ballots, which could foment trouble.
There are three main reasons that election officials reject ballots.
In 27.5 percent of cases, the signature on the ballot does not match the registered voter’s signature.
Another 23.1 percent of ballots missed the deadline for submission.
Voters did not sign 20 percent of the discarded ballots.
The remaining 14.8 percent of ballots were rejected for other reasons.
Accordiing to Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, there have been more ballots rejected in the 2020 primary season than in the 2012 and 2016 general elections together.
“Voting by mail should never be thought as a superior replacement to polling places,” he said.
“Glitches and errors are cured in a polling place by people trained to help. Here again, the cure is proving worse than the ailment. Millions of Americans (or their elected officials) were conned into thinking that mass mail balloting was the safe and effective answer in the face of the pandemic.”