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Voting groups and many Democrats are increasing pressure to make postal voting more widely available nationwide in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but President Trump is in opposition.
“Postal ballot papers are a very dangerous thing for this country because they are fraudsters,” Trump said during Tuesday’s White House meeting. “You are fraudulent in many cases.” He answered a Wisconsin question that was personally voted on Tuesday, despite objections that the election should be carried over to all postal ballot papers.
The President has argued last week that postal ballot papers are often fraudulent after originally saying that voting reforms such as extended postal ballots should not be undertaken because of the political ramifications.
Voters say that Trump is partially correct that there is a little more fraud in postal voting than in personal voting. However, they warn that both can be done safely and securely and that election fraud is extremely rare in all cases.
“Where there is fraud in the system, it really seems to be in the postal vote,” said Lonna Atkeson, a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. “There are some, there is not much. I think there is a little.”
In Tuesday’s meeting, Trump specifically referred to people collecting other people’s ballots, sometimes referred to as “ballot harvesting.” This type of collection and the subsequent alleged manipulation resulted in the North Carolina election being overturned in 2018.
Experts, especially those with experience in a handful of states that vote fully by post, say that states can implement things like ballot tracking and prepaid postage and voting boxes that make it unnecessary for voters to hand in their ballots to a third party.
Tammy Patrick, a former Arizona election officer and now a senior advisor to the Democracy Fund, told NPR in 2018 that government officials should resist the urge to write off a voting method that makes voting more accessible (and currently safer). for thousands of people because of a few isolated cases.
“I think we have to fight back in response,” said Patrick. “When a bank is robbed or a car is stolen, we don’t stop using banks or cars. We enforce the law.”
In the meantime, Senator Elizabeth Warren is proposing to send the postal vote to every registered voter in the country.