US Attorney General Bill Barr’s words on FOX News Sunday amplifying President Donald Trump’s views that there could be massive voter fraud through mail-in voting in the November election continue to miss the mark.
Rather than focus specifically on mail-in practices that could lead to fraud or harvesting – such as a state suddenly mailing ballots to everyone – the broad brush simply has the effect of suppressing votes of Trump supporters.
The legitimate conservative concern is that if we allow states to mail millions of ballots to a voter list, then anyone can get their hands on those ballots and fill them out fraudulently.
The simple answer to this issue is we can allow the states to only mail a ballot to a verified voter who first requests the ballot to be mailed to them. Then the states won’t be mailing ballots to dead people or the wrong addresses which could allow for potential fraud.
Four states are doing this already: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. These states are already mailing absentee ballot applications to voters in their state for the person to fill out and return if they want a ballot sent to them.
On the other hand, Nevada rightly drew Trump’s fire when they suddenly and without warning decided to mail ballots to everyone. Likewise, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) just signed an executive order this past Friday to directly send all registered California voters mail-in ballot. Since these Californians didn’t request the ballot first and verify their current information, this can potentially open the door for voter fraud in the state.
We added a label to two @realDonaldTrump Tweets about California’s vote-by-mail plans as part of our efforts to enforce our civic integrity policy. We believe those Tweets could confuse voters about what they need to do to receive a ballot and participate in the election process.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) May 28, 2020
The distinction can easily be missed. For example, The New York Times initially attacked Trump’s tweets attacking Michigan and Nevada for mailing ballots based on The New York Times claiming neither state mailed ballots, only applications. It turned out both the Times and Trump were right on one state and wrong on the other. Trump corrected his tweet to reflect Michigan was only mailing applications and the Times corrected its story the same day to note Nevada was in fact mailing ballots.
Not only should Republicans support safe mail-in voting after applications are submitted by voters for a ballot to be sent to them due to obvious health risks of going in person to vote at a polling booth where viruses can spread, but history shows Republicans win more elections that involve mail-in voting as an option.
In the recent primary in Wisconsin, the Republican Tom Tiffany beat the Democrat Tricia Zunker after a day of long lines and crowded polling stations which had most people worried about voting during the pandemic. Tiffany won by a large margin with most of the mail-in ballots picking him.
GOP leaders in swing states are big supporters of mail-in voting, regardless of President Trump’s strong outspoken opposition to it.
Arizona’s system of mail-in balloting that makes up almost 80 percent of the state’s voting was originally designed by Republicans who love the success so far, especially considering this year’s coronavirus scare.
Florida Republicans are enjoying two decades of winning elections with a lot of older, mostly conservative voters who prefer to mail in their ballots. They do have the most laws protecting the integrity of their mail-in votes which other states should also adopt this year. Two-thirds of voters in conservative Utah often mail in their votes, though the number dropped to only 40 percent just days before the June 30 GOP primary for governor amid Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting.
The health and safety of everyone must be first and foremost come November. Attorney General Barr and President Trump have it wrong by discounting all forms of vote-by-mail as fraud waiting to happen. We need absentee ballots for not just the military and overseas travelers this year.
Our country is battling a dire situation and safe mail-in voting will help slow the spread of disease.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.