A growing concern among conservatives is President Donald Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting are going to leave only Republican voters rejecting it as Democrats flood boxes with votes for their candidates.
If Republicans do not follow the Democrats’ push for casting mail-in ballots amid the president’s attacks, the GOP will be “basically putting a knife to their own electoral throats,” former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told The Hill.
Still, Trump campaign general counsel Matthew Morgan says the GOP needs to be vigilant in all forms of voting in November’s election.
“If a voter can’t make it to the polls, they can request an absentee ballot — but universal vote by mail opens the door to chaos and fraud,” Morgan said. “States should be — and many already are — working to ensure polling locations can be safely open and operating on and before Election Day, and we encourage voters across America to take advantage of both of those in-person options.”
Five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington— conduct elections entirely by mail, per The Hill.
California has made it legal for campaigns to gather mail-in votes from the electorate and submit them en masse, a practice called “ballot harvesting,” which is illegal throughout the rest of the U.S.
“I think concerns about ballot harvesting practices are fair and legitimate,” GOP elections lawyer Chris Ashby told The Hill. “I’m also very concerned about the ability of the postal service to handle the volume of mail ballots, of local election officials to process them timely and transparently, and of partisans and the public to wait patiently while that happens in the days and weeks after Election Day.”
But Ashby did admit to The Hill, the GOP cannot stop “the national tide has clearly turned in favor of expanding opportunities to vote.”
“National Republicans should stop trying to beat back the tide and start harnessing it,” he said. “Experience in Florida, for example, shows that Republicans can win mail ballots. But that’s not going to happen if the GOP spends all its time fighting vote by mail and casting doubt on it. In both the short and long terms, all those resources and efforts would be better spent trying to win mail-in votes.”
An R Street Institute think-tank study advocated for “Why conservatives should embrace sensible measures to expand absentee balloting.”
“To support expanded voting by mail is an imperative of conservative ideals,” the authors wrote, per The Hill. “And, for this reason, it is not surprising that even as pundits and special interests have spent recent months conjuring visions of electoral doom, conservative policymakers with actual governing responsibilities have moved forward with expanding access to absentee ballots.”