Democrats and leftist activists are pushing to make big changes to U.S. election laws, ostensibly to protect voters against the new coronavirus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed that she has plans to include funding specifically to support expanded mail-in voting in the next coronavirus-related bill Congress considers, Reuters reported.
While the $2 trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus package recently passed by Congress included $400 million to help states prepare for the election amid the coronavirus outbreak, Pelosi says states will need a lot more money to institute universal vote-by-mail and other related measures — about $2 to 4 billion.
Pelosi: “Vote-by-mail is essential”
In a message posted to Twitter on Friday, Speaker Pelosi wrote, “Vote-by-mail is essential to protecting the future of our democracy as we confront this public health crisis. There is no legitimate argument against enacting it.”
In a video linked to the tweet, Pelosi said that any opposition to mail-in ballots would be tantamount to “undermining” the intentions of the nation’s founders for all citizens to participate in elections, and confirmed that she would include additional “resources” in support of “vote-by-mail” in the next coronavirus relief package.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 3, 2020
Trump cites fraud risk
While three states — Colorado, Washington and Oregon — use only mail-in voting and a number of other states provide it as an option, critics have noted that mail-in ballots are susceptible to manipulation and could result in cheating. President Donald Trump said Friday that he opposes the idea of expanding mail-in voting due to the risk of voter fraud.
Near the end of the daily coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, Trump was asked about delaying the general election and the idea of mail-in ballots, both of which have been framed as a means to guard against potential viral exposure.
With regard to suggestions that the election in November should be delayed, similar to several state primary elections in March and April, Trump stated clearly, “The general election will happen on November 3rd.”
Trump: Voters should show ID in person
As for if states should start making preparations for using mail-in ballots, Trump said, “No, because I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting. I think people should vote with ID — voter ID. I think voter ID is very important. And the reason they don’t want voter ID is because they intend to cheat.”
“It shouldn’t be mail-in voting. It should be: You go to a booth and you proudly display yourself,” the president said. “You don’t send it in the mail where people pick up — all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they signed that, if they sign that — if they signed that by the time it gets in and is tabulated.”
“No, it shouldn’t be mailed in. You should vote at the booth. And you should have voter ID, because when you have voter ID, that’s the real deal,” he added.