Donald Trump and his Republican allies have spent the last several weeks fighting efforts to allow all Americans to vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. But a new poll finds that the vast majority of voters actually support the idea.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released Tuesday, found that 58 percent of registered voters would support a permanent rule allowing all eligible voters to vote by mail. Another 9 percent support such a policy for this November's election due to the pandemic, while only 29 percent are against vote-by-mail altogether.
Republicans have vocally opposed allowing all voters the option to vote by mail. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Democratic efforts to add vote-by-mail to a coronavirus relief bill last month a "disgusting" scheme for "some political benefit."
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) suggested it was a plot to help presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, while Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of wanting to "make national voting open for fraud [in] the midst of a national crisis."
Studies have found virtually no voter fraud in the United States. While some studies have found vote-by-mail balloting may result in a few more cases of voter fraud than usual, experts say it may actually be safer.
Former Oregon Secretary of State Phil Keisling wrote in 2016 that mail-based voting systems are "less risky than most polling place elections, precisely because they distribute ballots (and electoral risk) in such a decentralized way."
Oregon and Washington — states that have already adopted vote-by-mail — previously examined the number of suspected voter fraud cases after their respective 2016 general elections. Both found only a 0.002 percent rate of suspected fraud statewide.
Trump told Fox News last month that if you had universal vote-by-mail, "you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again."
He tweeted on April 8 that "Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting," noting that "for whatever reason, [it] doesn't work out well for Republicans."
Contrary to Trump's efforts to return the country to business as usual, most Americans say they are not ready to return to normal life. An Axios/Ipsos poll released Tuesday found 72 percent of Americans "feel it would be risky to return to 'normal' life just yet, and would wait indefinitely or at least for a few more months for the threat of coronavirus infection to subside."
According to the CDC, 746,625 coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States as of Monday. More than 39,000 of those have resulted in deaths. At least seven cases reportedly may have stemmed from in-person voting in a recent election held in Wisconsin, after the state's Republican legislature refused to move it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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