State lawmakers voted to extend certain pandemic measures they felt were temporarily beneficial. I was stunned, however, to discover that the Senate made an attempt to include a rider to extend voting by mail indefinitely, but it was not a part of the final language the governor signed. Basically, this is a lucky break, and a second chance to nip in the bud the controversial free-for-all of voting by mail.

There may never be another chance to stop this new system of massive mail-in voting that will result in a higher rejection rate than votes cast in person. That means everyone's vote doesn't count. For just the primary election in 2020, over 18,000 Massachusetts voters had their ballots rejected.

Unquestionably, mail-in ballots are the most vulnerable to being forged, altered or stolen. Look at what happened in Patterson, New Jersey's municipal election, where local officials disallowed one in five ballots for everything from signatures on the ballots not matching the signatures of voters on file, to ballots not complying with the technical rules that apply to absentee ballots.

The New York Times correctly wrote back in 2012, "votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth." That assessment is just as true today as it was in 2012.

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The tried-and-true absentee ballot request system has worked perfectly well for many decades. I'm an advocate for our absentee system, where you request a ballot be sent to you. I do have a problem, however, with millions of ballots being mailed out to people who've moved away or who've passed on. There's a big difference between a massive bulk mailing and requesting a ballot be sent to you.

Regardless of why vote by mail didn't make it for the governor to sign, the Senate will probably return to this in the future as a standalone piece of legislation. But in the meantime, if you agree with my viewpoints, then take a moment to call on Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Mark Montigny and the area legislators not to make voting by mail permanent.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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