Donald Trump & Co. maybe against it…
But they are fighting a losing battle…
With the virus pushing even more state to bring the process to their voters….
Even as Mr. Trump rails against vote-by-mail, some Republican leaders are urging their constituents to cast ballots through the Postal Service — a recognition that more voters are likely to embrace mail-in ballots in November.
While 28 states offer mail-in ballots, just five currently conduct elections entirely by mail — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah. In Washington, those all-mail elections are overseen by Kim Wyman, the Republican secretary of state. Over the past few weeks, Ms. Wyman and her office have fielded calls from election officials in every state in the country, as the virus scrambled plans for primaries and beyond.
We talked to Ms. Wyman about why her party opposes voting by mail, whether the country is ready for a widespread vote-by-mail election and her message to Mr. Trump. (As always, our conversation has been edited and condensed.)
You are a Republican, you support vote-by-mail, and that’s a little bit unusual right now. Why do you think so many Republicans object to voting this way?
Ms. Wyman: Well, I’m not totally sure. I think that some of it is the perception that a lot of people have that vote-by-mail increases the potential for fraud, and that it could really just be this high level of activity of fraudulent behavior. My response has always been that actually vote-by-mail has a lot of security measures you can build into it. And we have done that here in Washington.
At the end of the day, all voting systems are like banks. You build a lot of things in to protect from fraud, you build in a lot of measures to detect it but, ultimately, if somebody wants to commit fraud or if someone wants to rob a bank, they can. And then we have measures on the back end to prosecute that criminal activity. So you hope to deter it and you hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, you have ways to deal with it.
Some Republicans are worried that it’s going to hurt their electoral prospects. That’s part of what President Trump has argued.
My experience with partisan folks is Republicans tend to worry about voter fraud, Democrats tend to worry about voter suppression, and both sides accuse the other side of perpetrating those things. I started as an election administrator before I was elected, and what I found is that the people that are running elections can’t make decisions based on what’s going to help or hurt their party or hurt the other party. It has to be about the voter, it has to be about fair participation, and it has to be about accessible, secure, accurate elections.
Every one of us, whether we’re a Democrat, Republican or an independent, or any minor party in there, needs to be working toward making sure our democracy works. What’s at stake right now is much greater than who wins the Oval Office, which party’s going to have control in which chamber. The stuff that we’re looking at is people could lose confidence in our elections. And if that happens, democracy’s at stake….
A Texas judge said Wednesday he will clarify that voters fearful of contracting COVID-19 will be allowed to use mail-in ballots during elections in July and November.
image…John Froschauer/Associated Press