President Donald Trump shut down talk of mail-in voting on Friday, according to the Washington Examiner, telling reporters that ballots “should not be mailed-in” this November. “You should vote at the booth, and you should have voter ID,” the president said, according to the Examiner.
His comments come as many have wondered how the nation will move forward with traditional elections this fall if lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic continue. More than a dozen states, including New York, have already postponed their primary elections, “or switched to voting by mail with extended deadlines,” The New York Times reported Friday.
A big, fat no
Trump’s remarks denouncing mail-in voting came at a White House press briefing on the coronavirus crisis on Friday, the Examiner reported.
Asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if “every state in the country should be prepared for mail-in voting” this fall, the president didn’t mince words in his response.
“No, because I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” Trump said, according to the Examiner. “It should be, you go to a booth, and you probably display yourself.
“You don’t send it in the mail where people pick up all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they sign that, if they sign that, if they sign that, by the time it gets and is tabulated,” the president added. “No. It should not be mailed-in.”
Weighing the risks
Still, the question remains of what can be done if the coronavirus continues hammering the United States into the fall. According to the Associated Press, Trump recently said the outbreak may continue in the United States “through July or August,” while Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has “said the state’s number of coronavirus cases may peak — not end — in 45 days.”
Moreover, experts have said mitigation efforts will have to continue long after the virus’s “peak” is reached.
“The point of the restrictions we have is actually to stretch this out even longer. We don’t want a big peak to come very quickly,” Mark Jit, who the AP described as “a disease researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,” said. “It’s not like a Hollywood movie with a clear ending where everyone is saved, or everyone dies, quickly.
“The best-case scenario is that we have vaccine in 12 or 18 months and then our lives go back to normal,” Jit added, according to the AP. “The worst-case scenario it takes a long time for a vaccine to be developed, and the world is really changed and our lives aren’t the same again.”
So what should the U.S. do about voting? Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), are all for the mail-in voting idea. “It just makes us more democratic,” Pelosi argued last week, according to PBS. “It just gives more people the opportunity to vote.”
But is the potential for fraud worth the risk?