Trump vents as more states move to expand vote-by-mail ahead of November election.

Reply Wed 20 May, 2020 07:58 pm
Trump vents as more states move to expand vote-by-mail ahead of November election.

Published May 20, 2020

President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at officials in two swing states, Michigan and Nevada, over their moves to make it easier for more voters to cast their ballots by mail ahead of the November election, highlighting his growing anger over mail-in voting changes that he contends will hurt his chances of reelection.

The President's harsh and often baseless criticism of vote-by-mail is significantly ratcheting up as more and more states loosen their vote-by-mail restrictions proactively or on court orders.

The latest: Texas, where a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that all voters can request an absentee ballot if they fear contracting the coronavirus by going to the polls in person, dealing a blow to Republicans in the state who had argued against sending ballots for that reason.

And in Michigan, the state's Democratic secretary of state said this week that all eligible voters would be mailed an absentee ballot application ahead of the November general election. Michigan is one of dozens of states that allow voters to cast their ballot by mail for any reason and it is a key swing state in the November presidential election.

In his tweet Wednesday morning, Trump falsely claimed Michigan would send absentee ballots to 7.7 million voters. But he also threatened to "hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!" Trump several hours later deleted the tweet and sent a new one that correctly described Michigan's absentee ballot initiative.

States have the legal authority to make changes to their elections, and Republicans have repeatedly opposed federal intervention in the administration of elections by the states.

Samuel Bagenstos, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan Law School who has written extensively about federal government's power to impose conditions on states' receipt of federal funds, said Trump does not have the authority to unilaterally hold up federal funding to the states.

"It's pretty clearly not a thing that he's allowed to do," Bagenstos said. "The President doesn't just get to decide that he's not going to spend appropriated funds because he doesn't like what states are doing."

"The federal government can impose conditions on states who receive federal funds but it's Congress who does that," he added.

A spokesman for Michigan's secretary of state said Trump's tweet is false and said that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, has the authority to make the change.

"Applications are mailed nearly every election cycle by both major parties and countless advocacy and nonpartisan organizations," said spokesman Jake Rollow. "Just like them, we have full authority to mail applications to ensure voters know they have the right to vote safely by mail."

Marc Elias, the Democratic lawyer who is leading the party's legal efforts to expand vote-by-mail across the country, responded to Trump's tweets Wednesday morning, saying that Trump is "spreading lies about voting again."

"Michigan is sending vote by mail applications, not ballots," Elias wrote in a tweet. "This is exactly what several GOP secretaries of state are doing. It is completely legal and good policy. He can't hold up funding to prevent people from voting."

Other secretaries of state, including Republicans, have sent absentee ballot applications to all voters ahead of upcoming elections. Among them, West Virginia, Georgia, Iowa, and Nebraska. And other states have changed their upcoming primaries to entirely vote-by-mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump's tweets come as he has urged his political aides to be aggressive in fighting efforts by Democrats to expand mail in voting in upcoming elections. The Republican National Committee has devoted $20 million to the effort in more than a dozen states.

But Trump's latest tweets threaten the delicate balancing act that Republicans have been trying to strike on the issue. They have argued that while they do not oppose mail-in voting, they oppose Democratic-pushed changes that they argue could make voter fraud more prevalent. Studies have found voter fraud is rare in US elections, including in places where vote-by-mail is widespread.

But with Trump's latest tweets, he attacks one key method Republicans have pushed to combat fraud: requiring voters to submit an application before receiving ballots. Republicans argue that ballot applications allow states to clean up their voter rolls before sending ballots to voters.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on a conference call with reporters this week that she didn't have an issue with absentee ballot request forms being sent to voters but opposed ballots being sent directly to voters without request.

And Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNN that the party does not oppose absentee voting, but rather opposes sending all voters a ballot without an application.

"There is great temptation to conflate absentee voting with sending every single registered voter an actual ballot," Murtaugh said. "We have no problem with absentee voting it is sending everyone a physical ballot that is the problem."

Asked if McDaniel stands by her comments in light of the President's tweets, Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the RNC, said "the RNC has been clear that we support a lawful absentee ballot process with the proper safeguards in place like signature verification, which Democrats have simultaneously sued to remove.

"We do not support overreach by the courts or by Democrats," he added.

In Nevada, also a swing state that will be hotly contested in November, the state's Republican secretary of state moved to mail ballots to all registered voters ahead of the state's primary. Nevada already allows voting by mail for any reason.

The Nevada secretary of state's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump's instance on broadly attacking vote-by-mail has perplexed many Republicans, who see no advantage to either party in vote-by-mail. Most recently, in a California special election conducted almost entirely by mail this month, the Republican candidate won, flipping a US House seat that had been held by Democrats.

"The most effective, diligent Republican campaign operatives will be developing their own vote-by-mail strategies & programs because they know a) GOP voters want and need that option and b) to defend status-quo voting protocols in a pandemic would be a mistake," wrote Republican strategist Kevin Madden on Twitter.

Last week, a Republican close to the White House told CNN that there is no political advantage to either party on vote-by-mail.

""I think the advantage of vote-by-mail goes to the campaign with the best organization," the source said.

This story has been updated to reflect that Trump deleted his initial tweet on Michigan and sent a new one that accurately described the state's absentee ballot initiative.

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Real Music
Reply Wed 20 May, 2020 08:27 pm
President Donald Trump on lashed out at officials in two swing states, Michigan and Nevada, over their moves to make it easier for more voters to cast their ballots by mail ahead of the November election, highlighting his growing anger over mail-in voting changes that he contends will hurt his chances of reelection.

The President's harsh and often baseless criticism of vote-by-mail is significantly ratcheting up as more and more states loosen their vote-by-mail restrictions proactively or on court orders.

Published May 20, 2020

0 Replies
Reply Wed 20 May, 2020 10:01 pm
@Real Music,
disenfranchisement and voter suppression has been the total playbook of the National GOP HQ. Local GOPs in county offics in Pa are still embarrased at how th GOP countis had been ordered to change polling places near to urban college campuses in Philly, Lancaster, Scranton, Lincoln University and State College
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Reply Thu 21 May, 2020 05:24 pm
the only voter fraud that happened in pennsylvania in the lat 2 presidential elections was carried out by the State GOP party. They tried to disenfranchise college students by last minute changes in polling places.

Reply Thu 21 May, 2020 05:34 pm
STILL talking out yer butthole pinky. The disenfranchisement came from the GOP actually changing polling places near collegees where kids had registered to vote. The GOP changed polling places in 2 areas and changes a requirement that some of the kids must go home to vote (After that had been fought over for severa yers)

Your second piece of BS is where your lame excuse for "voter cards" an then claiming that Sems were being racist is just flat out LIES outta your ass again.

The Dems fought against voter cards because it made it entirely difficult to acquire one so close to the election time. The entire directive would have been a bitch on rural people, the elderly, as well as college students (Who had to go bck to their home towns )
Fortunately the state Supreme Court voted it down and made a statement that the entire ploy was a bad faith effort to disnfranchise.

As I said many times, the best way to hide what you re doing is to blame your opponents of doing it first.
Clever (but only once)

PA is changing the gerrymandered voting districts that were emplaced by teh GOP since 1990 . It amde it totally impossible to win a seat in the House with thevoter districts as they were.
THIS YEAR, thats changed , so the Congressional district maps have already lost the artwork where one district occupied 5 counties in a fashion that looked like Mickey Mouse.

Sorry Pinky but your still a liar and Pa proved it.
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Region Philbis
Reply Thu 21 May, 2020 05:47 pm

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Reply Fri 22 May, 2020 02:41 am
oh so noow youDO accept culpability by your politicos in power
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Reply Fri 22 May, 2020 03:36 pm
I never implied that it was only one sided except for the fact that guys like Turzei, and Montgomery and Chester Counties commissioners who played poll place "musical chairs" and almost disenfranchised several thousands(Had it not been caught and published). They tried what the GOP got away with in Wisconsin.

Real Music
Reply Sun 24 May, 2020 09:09 am
The (pandemic) has already altered how tens of millions of Americans
can cast their ballots this year

Published May 24, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly transforming this year’s elections, changing the way tens of millions of people cast ballots and putting thousands of election officials at the center of a pitched political fight as they rush to adapt with limited time and funding.

In a watershed moment for American voting, nearly 30 states have changed rules or practices for this year’s primaries or the general election in response to the public health threat posed by covid-19, according to a tally by The Washington Post. The new policies affect roughly 86.6 million registered voters — including more than 40 million people who now have the temporary right to cast an absentee ballot because of the virus.

This striking shift in the voting landscape encompasses nearly every part of the country, red and blue states alike. But with November less than six months away, the largely bipartisan wave of change has been hit by political turbulence as President Trump raises unfounded doubts about the security of voting by mail and threatens to punish states where Democratic leaders are facilitating it.

Battles over voting in the age of the coronavirus are defining the 2020 presidential cycle, with intense partisan fights over the rules erupting in states such as Wisconsin and Texas. The outcome will shape how easy it will be for people to cast their ballots in November — and in some cases, whether certain mail-in votes will be counted.

As more than two dozen legal battles wend their way through the courts, local and state officials are racing to figure out how to administer the election amid the health crisis, propelled by an unyielding calendar.

“There’s so much debate in Washington, particularly as a result of comments from the president, around the questions: ‘Are people going to be voting by mail?’ ‘Should they be allowed to vote by mail?’ And the fact of the matter is, they’re doing it,” said Larry Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“The election officials have to essentially create a new infrastructure for handling that,” he added. “They prepared for one election and got another.”

This year, more than 168 million of the nation’s nearly 198 million registered voters are eligible to vote absentee in either midyear contests or the general election.

In the fall, the country could see a huge surge in mail voting compared with 2016, when more than 33 million ballots were cast absentee or sent in by mail for the general election, about 24 percent of the vote, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

The process has already been messy and costly, posing challenges for local election clerks, the U.S. Postal Service and voters trying to navigate the shifting rules.

The next big test will come June 2, when eight states and the District of Columbia are holding primaries. At the same time, many jurisdictions are face looming deadlines to order ballot materials and specialty equipment for the general election.

“We’re all looking at it like this is our dry run and multiplying it by what could happen in November,” said Roxanna Moritz, auditor for Scott County, Iowa, of the June 2 contests in her state, which has seen a massive spike in requests for absentee ballots. “As soon as we’re finished, we’re in a dead heat.”

A swift transformation

The shift toward absentee voting has been rapid and widespread over the past two months since the coronavirus began to claim thousands of lives throughout the country.

At first, political debate was muted as elected officials made changes to voting procedures they said were necessary to protect the public.

Starting with Louisiana on March 13, more than a dozen states postponed primaries. Officials cited a number of practical challenges arising from the pandemic, including elderly poll workers withdrawing from their jobs out of concern for their health and a shortage of sanitizing equipment for polling places.

“This decision has been made out of an absolute abundance of caution for Louisiana’s voters, voting officials and the general public as a whole,” said Kyle Ardoin, the Republican secretary of state, as he announced that his state was delaying its primary more than two months. Officials later delayed it again for three more weeks.

Since then, state leaders from both parties have announced decisions to facilitate absentee voting for people who fear contracting the coronavirus by casting ballots in person. This national shift has drawn comparisons to other periods of large-scale transformation in U.S. voting, such as the overhaul that followed the 2000 presidential election debacle, which set new minimum standards for election administration and provided federal funding to replace aging voting equipment.

Decisions about expanding absentee voting this year have in some cases been made by secretaries of states, often in partnership with governors — both Republican and Democratic. In others, court rulings, new state laws and decisions by local officials are playing a role.

While only a handful of states have made decisions about how they will hold their elections in November, many have already put in place a wide range of changes for their midyear contests, The Post’s review found.

Eleven states that require an excuse to vote absentee have announced that voters may cast ballots by mail for the primaries this year if they are concerned in-person voting will make them sick. These decisions temporarily make voting by mail accessible to more than 40 million people.

Another 12 states and the District of Columbia are proactively sending absentee ballot applications or request forms to voters specifically because of the coronavirus. Roughly 34.7 million people will receive the forms, according to state figures on registered and active voters.

In the most controversial move, four states — Maryland, Montana, Nevada and New Jersey — are proactively sending absentee ballots for the primaries to approximately 11.3 million voters in the coming months. They join five states that already mail ballots to voters.

Critics say this practice substantially increases the risk of ballot fraud. Proponents argue that with the right safeguards, such as signature requirements and verification measures, mailing ballots is secure.

“This decision, which was not made lightly, both ensured the primary election could move forward as scheduled and provided a way to protect the health and safety of voters and election workers in Nevada,” Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, said in a statement this past week.

The swift changes have forced local election administrators to overhaul their operations to prepare for a surge in absentee voting.

That’s also the case in 34 states that already do not require an excuse to vote absentee or by mail, where officials are bracing for millions more voters to embrace that option than in past elections.

In Pennsylvania, voters had submitted approximately 1.6 million applications for mail-in and absentee ballots for the June 2 primaries as of this past week, a figure Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar called “off the charts.”

And in Georgia, almost 1.5 million people have requested absentee ballots for the June 9 primary as of this past week, a dramatic increase over previous elections. State officials estimate that as many as half of voters will cast absentee ballots — compared with just 5 to 7 percent in a typical election.

The pressure on local election clerks is now intense in states such as Iowa, where Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate announced in March that active registered voters would receive absentee ballot request forms in the mail ahead of the June 2 congressional primaries.

As of mid-May, the number of absentee ballot requests had spiked more than 10 times on average over 2016, according to a breakdown provided by Moritz.

Election offices are now scrambling to keep up as they process the requests, ensure the correct ballot is sent to each voter, purchase extra supplies and educate the public about the process.

Meanwhile, the state is also reopening businesses, raising the possibility of another viral outbreak.

“We are in uncharted territory,” said Moritz, a Democrat who leads the state association of county auditors. “Our governor is opening up . . . and we’re three weeks from an election. What does that mean for us?”

Moritz and other local election officials across the country are already contending with the mounting costs of making voting safe during the pandemic.

A $2.2 trillion virus relief package that passed March 27 included $400 million in voting funds for states. While nearly all that money has been dispersed, it was only a fraction of what election officials sought, and a few states have struggled to fulfill a 20 percent match requirement.

County auditors in Iowa received just $300 per precinct from the secretary of state under the act to help purchase additional equipment, Moritz said. But when a single sneeze guard costs about $125 — and every polling place requires several — it is clear that money will only go so far.

Even in states that have received their full allocations, it is unclear how much of the funding will trickle down to local officials.

In Defiance County, Ohio, officials are still tallying up costs from the state’s primaries this spring. Additional expenses totaled approximately $20,000, including about $10,000 just for postage, said Deputy Elections Director Kim Smith, a Democrat.

“In Ohio, we’re already utilizing a lot of the federal funding that has come down,” said Smith. “That’s not going to cover two elections here.”

Some are holding out hope for the next federal relief bill. The version passed by the House included $3.6 billion for election assistance and a series of voting mandates favored by Democrats but is considered dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Just four states have so far changed their voting rules for the November general election, but many more are expected to join them in the coming weeks, as officials confront deadlines for ballot printing orders and purchases of equipment like high-capacity ballot scanners.

In New Hampshire, people concerned about contracting the coronavirus will be allowed to cast absentee ballots, a decision affecting roughly 875,000 registered voters. Connecticut and Michigan will send absentee ballot applications to about 8.7 million voters in those two states.

And in California, more than 20 million voters will receive actual absentee ballots in the mail.

0 Replies
bobsal u1553115
Reply Sun 24 May, 2020 12:12 pm
@Region Philbis,
But Region, logic and good common sense screws with Conspiracy wooooo!!!
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bobsal u1553115
Reply Sun 24 May, 2020 12:13 pm
That dummy still doesn't get it. The fraud was not with voter registration, it was with election officials after the vote.
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Reply Sun 24 May, 2020 12:37 pm
You are the stupidest 170iq person who ever lived.

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