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ECB3

Mail-In Voting

Which fallacy defines: mail-in voting can be susceptible to fraud, therefore mail-in voting is fraudulent and unreliable?

asked on Monday, Jul 20, 2020 06:31:33 AM by ECB3

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Answers

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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There is a couple of things going on here. Let's take a closer look at the language:

"can be susceptible to fraud" is not the same as fraudulent. Even "IS susceptible to fraud" is not fraudulent. This is simply a Non Sequitur .

However, the other word, "unreliable," makes for a better argument:

Mail-in voting can be susceptible to fraud, therefore mail-in voting is fraudulent and unreliable.

This is a claim being made that because mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud, it is unreliable. It is not fallacious, but it is not a good argument either. "Unreliable" is ambiguous and means very little unless we operationalize it or even have something to compare it to, like voting in person. Voting in person is also "susceptible to fraud" (what isn't) but we generally don't consider it unreliable. Even if we do, it is an unhelpful opinion until we disambiguate (operationalize) "unreliable." For example:

P1. If a method of voting results in an error rate of more than 1%, it is unreliable.
P2. Mail-in voting results in an error rate of 1.2%.
C. Therefore, mail-in voting is unreliable.

Now we have a good foundation for a productive discussion. The interlocutors can disagree with premise one, and perhaps premise two if there is no clear data here, but they are at least in the right direction.

answered on Monday, Jul 20, 2020 06:58:09 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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ECB3 writes:

Thank you, Dr. Bennett. There are a couple of things going on indeed. This seems to be the sum total of the argument made against mail-in voting, including calling it fraudulent but without the statistical qualification or operationalization. I’m happy you cleaned it up because it is a poor excuse for rejecting mail-in voting, as stated. Those rejecting mail-in voting need only supply the data and context as you said, to argue the point more productively. However, the actual data doesn’t appear to support the claim, so there it is. Thanks again.

posted on Monday, Jul 20, 2020 09:20:27 AM
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Jason Mathias
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This is a Non Sequitur fallacy. 

The same argument can be made for in person voting as well. 

In person voting can be susceptible to fraud, therefore in person voting is unreliable. 

answered on Thursday, Jul 23, 2020 08:14:58 PM by Jason Mathias

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