Undermining Efforts To Vote–And Not Just By Mail

As the polls get grimmer for Trump and the GOP, the party’s efforts to sabotage November’s election get more frantic.

Trump has especially attacked efforts to expand vote-by-mail, in the face of a pandemic that has not only made voters fearful, but made it nearly impossible for election officials to find people willing to staff voting centers. It isn’t just threats and tantrums; the Washington Post reported on his installation of another crony as Postmaster General.

A top donor to President Trump and the Republican National Committee will be named the new head of the Postal Service, putting a top ally of the president in charge of an agency where Trump has long pressed for major changes in how it handles its business.

The Postal Service’s board of governors confirmed late Wednesday that Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman who is currently in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, will serve as the new postmaster general.

Trump had already been carrying on a vendetta against the Postal Service as part of his grudge match against Jeff Bezos; he is convinced that Bezos is “getting a deal” on the delivery of Amazon packages. His fear of vote-by-mail has ramped up his antagonism considerably.

Despite the wild allegations, voting by mail has been widely used in U.S. elections for many years and previously had widespread support from both parties. A recent Brennan Center poll found that four out of five Americans think that all voters should have a mail ballot option for Election Day, including 57 percent of Republicans. Every state allows at least some of its voters to cast mail-in ballots, and most states allow all voters to cast mail-in ballots. (And as many people have pointed out, Trump himself votes by mail.)

Nevertheless, Trump has ramped up its rhetoric, characterizing mail-in ballots as fraudulent, and expansion of the option as a way to “rig” the election. (Ironically, those attacks seem to be convincing mainly Republican voters–leading GOP operatives to worry that it will hurt their own turnout efforts.)

Paul Waldman recently pointed out that GOP efforts at vote suppression aren’t limited to the party’s frenzied assault on vote-by-mail.

Voter suppression is at the very heart of Republican electoral strategy, and, as the New York Times reports Monday, they plan to go all-out in November:

The Republican program, which has gained steam in recent weeks, envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious. That is part of a $20 million plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on balloting. The party and its allies also intend to use advertising, the internet and President Trump’s command of the airwaves to cast Democrats as agents of election theft.

The efforts are bolstered by a 2018 federal court ruling that for the first time in nearly four decades allows the national Republican Party to mount campaigns against purported voter fraud without court approval. The court ban on Republican Party voter-fraud operations was imposed in 1982, and then modified in 1986 and again in 1990, each time after courts found instances of Republicans intimidating or working to exclude minority voters in the name of preventing fraud. The party was found to have violated it yet again in 2004.

Waldman notes that, for Republicans, “Voters deemed suspicious” is shorthand for “black people, Latinos, students, black people, and also black people.”

He also reminds readers of what happened in Wisconsin, when Republicans stymied efforts to postpone a primary during the initial spike of COVID-19 cases. The effort backfired. Voters were pissed off enough to stand in long lines and literally risk their lives to cast a ballot.

The lesson Waldman takes from that election is that, the more attention is given to GOP voter suppression efforts– the more voter suppression itself becomes a campaign issue– the more likely it will be to boost turnout among Democrats.

Pass it on.

14 thoughts on “Undermining Efforts To Vote–And Not Just By Mail

  1. This is not the first GOP action against mail-in voting; it has just been escalated to a level endangering the continuation of the entire United States Postal Service to multi-millions in this country and world-wide. DeRoy’s first order is to stop delivering all mail at the end of a set time, this will result in late arrival of bills, late pickup of mail-in payments and the following month bill will contain the late fee. The USPS has provided much more than mail-in voting privileges since its inception.

    I lived in Florida in 2000 during the presidential election and the bogus “recount” held under Gov. Jeb Bush’s administration. It was highly publicized repeatedly daily by all media. During the “recount” someone “found” boxes and boxes of Absentee Ballots locked in a closet and submitted them to the recount committee. They were dated and had arrived well before election day but were purged by the committee as not arriving in time to be counted.

    Reapplying for Absentee Ballots is required here even if you used them prior to the Indiana Primary. The Election Board has opted to reuse the Primary application, leaving the date blank to enter the November 3, 2020 General Election date. All official sites I have contacted have sent the same application form which states it can be E-mailed or printed and mailed to each county office. I CANNOT find any option to E-mail the form and my printer is broken, I am totally deaf and cannot call, so unless one of the government offices I have contacted provides a way to apply on line for the application I will have to go to the overcrowded polling site where I was “manhandled” by a large woman and the first ballot machine rejected my ballot TWICE in 2016. By the way; I have not seen an announcement that reapplication for Absentee Ballots is necessary, had I not asked on Dana Black’s Facebook post I would not know to begin searching for a way to reapply.

    All polling places now appear to have combined several precincts into one overcrowded site, with social distancing now required to further discourage ALL voters including Republicans, to take the time to vote. My disabled daughter had to park a distance away and stand in a blocks-long line to vote; my friend Kim returned to her polling place twice before parking a distance away and getting in the blocks long line at her polling place to cast her vote. Five days earlier, Kim had watched her husband of 40 years die of coronavirus from behind a glass wall, she was casting her vote for both of them.

    “Waldman notes that, for Republicans, “Voters deemed suspicious” is shorthand for “black people, Latinos, students, black people, and also black people.”

    White people’s votes are being lost along with those of color; are Republicans also finding suspicious those who are openly active in the LGBTQ fight for civil rights?

  2. Never underestimate a man who is willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get what he wants. Vote. Get your whole family to vote. Get all of your friends and neighbors to vote.

  3. No surprises here. Third-world dictatorships do this sort of thing. But in those erstwhile third-world countries when the citizens have had enough of the corruption and the bullshit, revolutions, insurrections, assassinations become the order of the day. So, with the storm troopers in Portland, and the rule of law pilloried by Barr, when will it be our turn for this pathetic and ugly joyride into the ash heap of history?

  4. This is all the more reason to APPLY NOW for your absentee ballot. Once you receive it, fill out the form and get it mailed back in right away, enhancing your chances to receive your ballot in plenty of time to fill it out and get it returned prior to November 3rd!

  5. Here’s an idea for Election Boards to consider. At all polling places, including early voting, updates could be posted to the Election Board website stating how many voters are in line to vote. Then I could try to time my trip to arrive when the line is short. Our local BMV does this and it works great!

  6. The message that needs to get sent out to all Republicans is to stop doing things as all of your actions just lead to trauma and chaos. Vacation to January 20 next year or play golf or whatever, just don’t come to work, we can’t afford you to make any more decisions because when you do somebody pays dearly and more wealth gets sucked up from struggling people to the donor class.

  7. When Trumps white rural base suddenly finds out it is going to cost $20 to get that Amazon package delivered, and it won’t arrive for two weeks, then you MIGHT see some people realize the post office might have been a vital piece of the economy.

    But for Trump it is just a means to and end, and in the short term, I am sure he can do enough damage to “help” himself in the election because it has never been about America, only about Trump.

    Hopefully it will not be fatal to the country. Sorry I misspoke, that has already happened.

  8. As far back as the 1980’s, I was reading articles about the GOP trying to kibosh the Post Office. The reason they began the campaign, in the first place, was the almost religious fervor Republicans have for the free market. They’re convinced UPS and FEDEX can do a better job than the government can. And, so what if it costs more to subscribe to numerous services? All hail the market!

    Today, of course, the campaign has morphed into yet another voter suppression effort. If mail-in ballots are carried by services people must pay a monthly subscription to, who is affected? The poor [read black and Latinx — R’s don’t seem to comprehend that there are poor whites in the country.]

    Add in the perfect storm of covid offering to suppress the vote all on its own and the R’s see it as a golden opportunity not to be missed.

    Here in Florida, universal vote-by-mail is permitted and I have used it ever since I moved here. Given the circumstances we find ourselves in, I’m amazed that it hasn’t been rescinded yet.

    Even so, we’re not out of the woods. Florida is a closed primary state. In order to vote in the primary, one must register a party affiliation and vote only in that primary. So I’m registered as a Democrat —- in Florida —- where we have Governor Trump Clone DeSantis who is busily trying to kill off his Republican base. How else do we explain the opening of Disney World right now? I imagine the number of people who plan to vote for Biden AND plan to visit the park can be counted on two hands. But DeSantis is as rich in the thinking-ahead department as Trump is hisownself.

    Meanwhile, though I may be closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, I’ve quit signing petitions to both federal and state senators and reps . I’m keeping my head down and hoping to avoid getting purged from the rolls prior to November. Fingers crossed.

  9. In a tirade on this very subject this morning, former Congressman Joe Scarborough was mystified as to why Trump would want to impede voting by mail. As Joe explained very thoroughly, Republicans have always done better than Democrats when there was a lot of mail-in voting.

    I believe Trump might have proven competitive in the November election if he hadn’t bobbled the response to Covid-19 so badly. Stupidity is the only possible explanation for such a momentous screw-up, so maybe that sheds light on his wanting to eliminate a Republican edge in voting as well.

    When you don’t know what you are talking about and you surround yourself with only those that support your views, you run the risk of exposing your vacuous brain to public view. My reasoning is supported by this morning’s revelation that the test on which Trump brags about having done so well was designed to detect incipient Alzheimer’s disease. On that test he was, however, able to identify an elephant as an elephant. No wonder he’s so proud.

  10. Embarrassingly, Indiana purged 22% of all its voters (removed them from the registration rolls) for the highest rate of voters disenfranchised IN THE NATION since the last presidential election. While deceased voters should be removed from the rolls, voters should NOT be removed for failure to vote often enough or for living in a county or precinct of too many Democrats.

    Suppressing votes is an admission that one party doesn’t WANT or doesn’t believe it CAN compete on the issues, so suppression becomes the means to a victorious end. The only alternative for those wanting fair elections is for more people to register and vote to overwhelm the suppressors.

    Any USA citizen can register to vote or check their registration status (to be sure they have not been purged) in several languages at
    https://www.eac.gov/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form

    Hoosiers can register to vote on-line if they have a driver’s license or voter ID on file with the Bureau of Voter Vehicles or they can request a mailed voter registration form. Hoosiers can also locate polling places, apply for an absentee ballot, etc. at this same link: http://www.indianavoters.com/.

    Spread the news.

  11. I’m struggling to believe that an election will be legit when all other checks & balances have failed to this point! There is so much dark money pumped into the system to “buy” the result to keep power. Will we have an IG overseeing the post office to make sure mail-in ballots are all accounted for? I hear #3 recently appointed someone to head P.O. The recent case of States ordered PPE supplies being confiscated by the Fed. comes to mind. The insurrection troops ordered into Portland to arrest peaceful protesters is an example of Federal un-lawful interference. Remember the Mueller Report? Remember the impeachment trial? What ever they do to interfere in the general election will be asserted as lawful because this Potus has been deemed omnipotent. I think it would be wise to start thinking what to do when trump wins again? Yes I’ll vote, but I’ll prepare for the worst.

  12. I think the use of Homeland Security “Law enforcement” officers in Portland is the beginning of voter suppression. I think we will see a ramping up of this until the election and then watch out — on election day — see how many “suspicious” voters will be hauled out of line.
    We have entered into a very scary turn of events.

  13. Nancy Papas, you are exactly right. Voter roll purges will be the biggest suppression tactic used by the GOP. (Kris Kobach is an enemy of democracy.) How many people are going to find they’re not registered when they show up at the polls in November? Check yourself now!

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