Another crisis… another “opportunity.”
Democrat Senator Chris Coons appeared on MSNBC, demanding for $3.6 billion in bunding to support vote-by mail efforts.
Coons claimed that it would “give some flexibility to states in terms of match requirements and some dramatic additional resources, $3.6 billion.”
Calls for vote-by-mail have increased as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the country.
However, many worry that vote-by-mail efforts eventually lead to ballot harvesting and voter fraud.
Indeed, it seems ironic that those who investigated Russia for 3 years on the grounds of “election interference” are eager to support vote-by-mail while denouncing voter ID requirements.
More detailson Coons’ comments below:
Coons attempted to use the military as an example as to why vote-by-mail should be legalized nationwide.
The military are able able to cast absentee ballots when deployed abroad.
Breitbart reports that Coons claims that vote-by-mail shouldn't be a partisan issue:
In a Sunday interview with MSNBC’s “Kasie DC,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) called for $3.6 billion in funding to allow vote-by-mail in 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Coons noted people in the military and diplomats vote via mail and that President Donald Trump requested an absentee ballot for the upcoming election, advising if some states can vote entirely by mail, then it should not be an issue while there are shelter-in-place orders.
“It would ask us to give some flexibility to states in terms of match requirements and some dramatic additional resources, $3.6 billion,” argued Coons. “We’ve heard both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, heads of state, parties and local election officials calling for this. in every election, hundreds of thousands of Americans vote by mail from overseas. Folks in our armed forces and our diplomatic core, President Trump has requested an absentee ballot for this election. If it’s good enough for our troops and diplomats and our president, I don’t see why a vote-by-mail shouldn’t be a feature for every election in this state by November if people request it.”
He added, “It shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Look, there are five states that conduct it entirely by mail. Utah is one, Oregon is another. Utah is heavily Republican, Oregon is majority Democrat, in terms of who they send to Congress. So, I don’t think that you can predict what the partisan outcome will be based on whether folks have the ability to cast their votes by mail."
Coons comments comes as speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi vows to virus-proof the November election with vote-by-mail provisions.
Pelosi is attempting to use the next stimulus package to include provisions that would make vote-by-mail a reality nationwide.
Democrats have long been critical of voter ID requirements, which help ensure that only qualified citizens are able to vote in the presidential election.
New reports also indicate that very few states are prepared to switch to voting by mail in time for November.
The Democrats famously used new technology in their Iowa causes, which resulted in messy election results and vote tallies that were delayed by weeks.
Five Thirty Eight has more details on how vote-by-mail could complicate the November election:
Currently, state laws on the use of mail voting are a patchwork quilt. Only five states regularly conduct mail elections by default: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Three more, though, do allow counties to opt into mail voting, and nine more allow certain elections to be conducted by mail — although these are typically low-turnout, local elections, a far cry from the 2020 presidential race.
Another 29 states (plus Washington, D.C.) give voters the option to vote by mail — also known as no-excuse absentee voting — in federal elections, but the burden is on the voter to request her ballot. The remaining 16 states still require voters to provide a valid excuse if they want to vote by mail, although this year, some states may accept concerns around the coronavirus as an excuse. (New Hampshire has already moved to do that for the general election.)
Additionally, several states may consider expanding the use of mail voting in November, at least if the coronavirus is still a threat. The secretaries of state of Arizona and Minnesota want to mail ballots to all registered voters in the fall, and bills to that effect have been proposed in Illinois and Massachusetts as well. But don’t hold your breath: There are some major obstacles standing in the way of states expanding mail voting.
To start, there’s the fact that mail voting has evolved into a partisan issue. Republicans, led by President Trump, are strongly opposing efforts to convert to mail voting, arguing it boosts Democratic turnout or enables voter fraud. In reality, most studies have shown that mail voting does not advantage either party, and voter fraud is extremely rare, both in person and by mail. Indeed, Republican legislators have already spoken out against the proposals in Arizona and Minnesota, and President Trump and other Republicans have said they will oppose national efforts to encourage election reform.
But the bigger hurdle may be logistical. States can’t just snap their fingers and pull off a mail election on a dime; election administrators with whom we spoke agreed that preparing for a mail election is a challenge.
First, ballots need to be printed in massive quantities weeks in advance of the election. The Brennan Center for Justice, an advocacy group that supports expanded mail voting as one way to insulate elections from the effects of the pandemic, recommends printing 1.2 times as many ballots as there are registered voters to account for the possibility of more people registering to vote closer to the election. That’s a tall order for any state, but especially ones that normally use electronic voting machines and aren’t used to handling large volumes of paper ballots. And then, of course, for every ballot, you need a corresponding envelope to mail it in — and, as elections administration expert Tammy Patrick told The Appeal last month, “it’s not like these are just regular old envelopes that you can go down to Home Depot and buy.” They must include instructions for the voter — which have to be thoughtfully designed to guide confused voters — and are often custom-ordered.
There’s also the burden of assisting voters with the transition. Since Hawaii enacted default mail voting last year, Rex Quidilla, the elections administrator for the City and County of Honolulu, said his office has had to significantly ramp up support services for voters, such as providing replacements for ballots that get lost in the mail. In addition, his office has invested more time in maintaining the voter rolls to ensure that each voter’s address is up to date — otherwise, she won’t get her ballot. And Myrna Pérez, the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program, recommended that officials hire public education specialists to assist with voter education. “People need to know that the election system is going to look a little different for them and what their options are,” she said. “[Election officials] should start working with local post offices to make sure that people know what to do with mail ballots, make sure they have tracking systems,” and other precautions to ensure no valid voter is disenfranchised.
Doing all that, while also stuffing and mailing out millions of ballot envelopes, is a herculean task — perhaps an impossible one for many election offices at current staffing levels. Earlier this month, Wisconsin election officials reported being overwhelmed by absentee-ballot requests and simply being physically unable to fulfill them all, which led to many voters never receiving their ballots. So mail voting also requires more staff. For example, Quidilla had to establish multiple new positions to coordinate all the new services Honolulu is providing to voters. Hiring and training new workers is a big lift under normal circumstances — but election offices in 2020 have the added challenge of doing it during a pandemic.
Then, when the ballots are returned, they need to be counted. For some jurisdictions, this means even more bodies: Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., director of the Baltimore City Board of Elections, said he has already enlisted some election judges to help canvass mail ballots for the two mail elections he is conducting this spring — a special election for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District on April 28 and the Maryland primary election on June 2. For others, it means investing in specialized equipment like high-speed ballot scanners, automated mail sorting systems and signature-matching software. Honolulu is one jurisdiction that has embraced automation. “We were already at a point where manually processing the returned ballots was just not feasible anymore,” Quidilla said. “We’re a jurisdiction of half a million registered voters; it would be very difficult for us to receive and verify all these [ballots] on a manual basis.”
Talk about a logistical nightmare.
Furthermore, the $3.6 billion provision that Coons supports would add more to the United States deficit, which is the highest its ever been thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with $3.6 billion in funding, there's no guarantee that vote-by-mail would provide accurate election results.
Rather than politicizing the pandemic, perhaps Democrats should focus on helping President Trump protect American lives and livelihoods.