As the 2020 U.S. Presidential election gears up, republicans are concerned with the possibilities mail in voting could have on the turnout of the election. In recent months, local officials from swing states such as Nevada and Michigan have been rumored to be preparing to issue a mail in voting policy in response to COVID-19.
President Trump defends the stance against mail in voting by addressing the potential of voter fraud that could be utilized to win over crucial swing states.
Democrat Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State made public remarks on giving every registered voter in the state an absentee voting sheet to vote with for the 2020 election. In Nevada, local officials have responded in a similar fashion as Michigan. Both states have previously been crucial states that turned in favor of President Trump in the 2016 election that won the Republicans the executive branch seat.
Republican officials claim that Mail in voting would cause an increase in voter fraud.
President Trump responded via Twitter to Michigan officials, threatening to withdraw federal funding to prevent mail in the crucial swing states. President Trump claimed over Twitter that switching to a mail in voting system would “be cheating” and “would not be allowed” and would cut funding to states that decide to switch to absentee voting systems.
Voting by mail has been proven effective in regards to voter turnout. In 1932, a house decision was made to approve mail-in voting for national elections to the general public; after passage,voter statistics from the American Presidency Project recorded that voter participation was 4.1% nationally in the following election. Moving states to an absentee voting system in response to COVID-19 can be seen as a possible effective action by increasing voter participation along with enforcing social distancing.
Although there could be an increase in voter participation, the speculation of a possible increase in voter fraud cannot be taken out of question. The possibilities of a ballot to be lost or missing has been a pressing topic in recent years. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission found around 28 million mail in ballots were unaccounted for between the years 2012 and 2018. This raises an important question on whether or not switching to an absentee voting system would increase the potential of voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential election.
These decisions will definitely have an impact on the presidential election regarding the overall demographic that could be targeted with mail in voting by different states. Although President Trump can certainly revoke federal funding from states that switch to an absentee voting system, the overall power of dictating voting procedures are left to the states. Whether or not the states will choose to conform to federal pressure or decide to make a decision that could raise concerns with the republican party has yet to be seen.
Adams, Terrance. “HISTORY OF ABSENTEE VOTING IN THE STATE CONSTITUTION.” HISTORY OF ABSENTEE VOTING IN THE STATE CONSTITUTION, 7 Sept. 2012, www.cga.ct.gov/2012/rpt/2012-R-0379.htm.
@realDonaldTrump (Donald Trump). “Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people…” Twitter, 20 May 2020,twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1263170880298942464?s=20
“Surveys and Data: U.S. Election Assistance Commission.” Surveys and Data | U.S. Election Assistance Commission, www.eac.gov/research-and-data/datasets-codebooks-and-surveys.
“Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections.” Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections | The American Presidency Project, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/voter-turnout-in-presidential-elections.