ARE YOU AFRAID voting problems in November will create chaos and be a disaster for our confidence in democracy? Questions have been raised by leaders of both major parties, and the potential for fraud and logistical problems is a legitimate concern.

First, we should make it clear that no one has a problem with absentee voting. Safeguards are in place. What is disputed is universal mail-in voting. It’s fraught with potential nightmares. We could have one winner Nov. 3 and a different winner Nov. 15. That would be chaos. There also are legitimate concerns about voter suppression.

For example, in many heavily populated areas, voters are forced to wait in line for two to six hours to in-person vote. That’s not reasonable. Frankly, I would not stand in line any more than one hour. We should be able to do something about those delays.

As I see it, we could amend the federal election laws to allow voting two days, such as Tuesday and Wednesday. Allow voters with names beginning “a” to “m” to vote Tuesday and “n” to “z” Wednesday in an effort to alleviate the long waits and the problems with understaffing.

Rural areas with smaller numbers could still hold in-person voting just Tuesday. Being open two days would add to election costs, but so would adding more polling precincts. Either way, you would need more poll workers and/or voting machines. Choose your poison.

David Rivkin Jr. and Lee Casey offered some insight in a recent newspaper column. They practice appellate and constitution law in Washington, D.C., and previously served in the White House Counsel’s Office and Justice Department for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Under federal law and in Article II of the Constitution, Congress has powers in these election cases. The law says presidential elections must take place the first Tuesday of November which is Nov. 3 this year and the electors chosen on that day must vote Dec. 14 to select the new president and vice president.

These dates can’t be changed without an act of Congress and the 20th Amendment has set Inauguration Day Jan. 20. Delays in getting election results Nov. 3 will play havoc with federal electoral college deadlines.

Again, I see no problem with absentee voting, even if used by 40 million voters. State statutes permit the use of certain mail-in ballots sent on or before Election Day, no ballot cast after Nov. 3 is constitutionally valid. That implies that counting unpostmarked mailed ballots that arrive late would be unconstitutional.

Election laws vary from state to state. Some allow processing of mail-in ballots ahead of Nov. 3, but counting those ballots can’t start until Nov. 3 and often take days or weeks. If there are thousands of ballots, the staff could be overwhelmed. Ballots must be checked, verified, survive challenges and be uncontested. Many might be thrown out and left uncounted.

Researchers have found only rare instances of “vote by mail” fraud as there are numerous safeguards, but that was with limited use, and came after years of trial and error.

It might only be a big deal in the swing states and states where vote totals are very close such as toss-up states, but the elections also are important for the election of local, county, state and other national contests. It would be important.

Proponents of universal mail-in voting argue that reliance on traditional in-person voting will disenfranchise many Americans because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Opponents might ask what would be said if truckloads of mail-in ballots are discovered a day after the election. What happens if bad weather affects voting? There are a lot of what ifs.

One of America’s greatest constitutional imperatives is the smooth and timely transition of power from one duly-elected president to the next. Mail-in voting or some form of electronic voting might be the wave of the future, but for now, we need to work with what we’ve got for an orderly election.