Debate continues over mail-in voting amidst pandemic
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reported she wants further funding in the next pandemic response bill to provide voters with the option to vote by mail, according to an article by AP News.
In the recently signed $2 trillion economic relief package, $400 million was allocated to states to prepare for the upcoming presidential election, though there are no requirements on how to use the money.
Pelosi stated that a minimum of $2 billion, up to $4 billion, is needed to allow for voting by mail, according to Reuters. House Democrats originally asked for $4 billion in election assistance through the CARES Act.
The Brennan Center for Justice reported $2 billion is needed nationwide to ensure a free and fair election amidst the effects of the current pandemic. Expenses factored into the report include ensuring vote-by-mail option is available to all voters, maintaining in-person voting, developing and bolstering online registration, and public education costs.
More than a dozen states have already delayed their primaries. Fast approaching is Wisconsin’s primary for presidential, judicial, and local offices.
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued a stay-at-home order effective March 25 and has called to halt in-person voting for the state’s April 7 primary election. According to Politico, Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature formally rejected the call.
In a press briefing Friday evening, President Trump stated he does not support in-person voting for fear of voter fraud.
“It shouldn’t be mail-in voting,” said Trump. “It should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself. You don’t send it in the mail where people can pick up — all sorts of bad things can happen … by the time it gets in and is tabulated.”
Trump also criticized Gov. Evers for his last-minute push to allow all-mail voting.
“Why didn’t he do this two weeks ago? All of a sudden an election, which is taking place very soon, gets delayed. Now, I just endorsed him today, and it was a very strong endorsement… and all of a sudden the governor comes out… and says, ‘Oh, we’re going to move this election.'”
Democrats continue to push additional funding for mail-in and absentee voting availability, arguing this option as necessary if the virus remains pervasive in November, according to The Hill.
“It just makes us more democratic. It just gives more people the opportunity to vote. So that is something we would like to see,” Pelosi told reporters this week according to an AP News article.
The November 3 election is still scheduled to take place, according to President Trump.
PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN FROSCHAUER / AP