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Policy Summary: In April 2020 President Donald J. Trump again claimed that mail – in ballots encouraged cheating and dishonesty with state voting processes. On May 24, 2020 The Republican National Committee and a number of other GOP groups filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California in an effort to stop California Governor Gavin Newsom’s May 8, 2020 executive order to send all California voters a mail – in ballot for the upcoming November 3, 2020 election.

Governor Newsom’s executive order sets forth three things – [1] that each state county election officials shall deliver vote – by – mail ballots to all registered voters who are eligible to vote in the November 3, 2020 election, [2] that no limits will be placed on in – person voting opportunities that are feasible, and [3] that Governor Newsom’s administration will continue to partner with the Secretary of State and the Legislature to explore in – person voting opportunities as well as other details for the November 2020 election. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Policy Analysis: Once again, as in recent state elections in Wisconsin in 2020 and North Carolina in 2018 have shown, the Republican Party is attempting to manipulate the issue of absentee and mail – in ballots to suppress votes.

First, the contention in the California lawsuit that vote by mail “invites fraud” and “illegitimate voting” is simply a false assertion that has already been debunked numerous times. In an extensive analytical piece by the Washington Post the article states that the issue is being used to advance a partisan agenda by the GOP even though some GOP figures publicly and privately question President Trump’s attacks on mail – in voting. Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida praised the mail – in voting system in his state while frequent Trump critic and Republican Senator from Utah Mitt Romney said that a majority of his state participates in mail – in voting and that it has worked very well in Utah. State mail – in voting systems, when properly administrated and monitored, are an effective and reliable voting option.

What is not being mentioned is that Governor Newsom’s order is not moving the entire state voting system to a mail – in only system. His order was explicit that he and the Legislature were continuing to explore options with in – person voting and how to do that safely while in the midst of a pandemic. While Democrats have pushed for an expansion of mail – in voting during the pandemic they are also insistent that in – person voting options still be available. Voters could still have the option to vote in person or submit their ballot by mail. Current options, like in – person voting would not be eliminated. The voter would simply have more options to choose how they want to vote.

Finally, President Trump’s claims that that Democrats are encouraging voter fraud by pushing for mail – in ballot options is incredible when one considers the case of GOP operative Leslie Dowless in North Carolina, specifically in the 9th congressional district in that state. In that case, Mr. Dowless was charged with a number of felonies in connection with a scheme to improperly collect and tamper with the absentee ballots in a way that would give more votes to the Republican candidate for Congress from that district in the 2018 election. The end result was that the results of the 2018 election where the Republican narrowly won were voided. That caused the Republican candidate who “won” to step aside and another election to be held. The GOP cannot try to claim that mail – in voting causes fraud when one of their own operatives was caught engaging in a fraudulent scheme in the county’s absentee ballot voting system to help boost a Republican candidate’s chances. The GOP bringing a lawsuit in California to defend fair and honest voting options becomes suspect and exposes what the lawsuit is really about – an effort to discredit mail – in voting systems for partisan reasons, which at its core is nothing but another attempt to suppress votes. In this time where stepping outside to cast a ballot could mean the difference between life and death, the GOP would do better to find ways to help people vote instead of being an obstacle for voters who want to cast their ballot. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources:

  • Rock the Vote – non – profit group’s infopage on each state’s absentee ballot voting rules.
  • Vote at Home – non – profit group’s webpage advocating for voters to have the option to vote at home and with a collection of vote at home documents and success stories.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) – article from notable website of comparative state laws arguing for both absentee and in – person voting options.
  • Center for American Progress – non – profit group article on why mail – in and in – person voting is essential for people of color.

This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact Rod@USResistnews.org.

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