democracy disinformation
April 10, 2020

If the U.S. learned anything from Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin, it's that in-person voting doesn't work in a pandemic.

Yet even though COVID-19 and its mandatory stay-at-home orders will likely last for a while, many Republicans lawmakers have deemed efforts to expand voting by mail a partisan ploy designed to help elect Democrats. There are a few problems with that theory though, beginning with the fact that voting by mail is already incredibly common, even in solidly red states.

Democrats have held out on approving the next phase of coronavirus relief because, among other things, they want increased funding for expanding and securing vote-by-mail for the general election in November. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) claimed Democrats were doing this because they thought it "gives you some political benefit. That's disgusting to me." President Trump has baselessly called voting by mail "very dangerous" and "corrupt," and said it would mean "you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again," even though he votes by mail himself.

Tell that to Utah, which is among five states where mail ballots are automatically sent to every registered voter. Its governor, senators, and three of its four representatives are Republicans. Voters can request a mail ballot in every other state in the nation — albeit in some places they must provide an excuse — and most of them have had no problem electing Republicans. As recently as Thursday, New Hampshire's Republican Gov. Chris Sununu declared everyone in the state could vote absentee this fall if the coronavirus is still a major factor, even though he's objected to widespread vote-by-mail before. Kathryn Krawczyk

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