From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Why Trump and the GOP Don’t Want Mail Voting
Date May 30, 2020 12:10 AM
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[The strongest tool Americans have to prevent Republican attempts
at voter suppression is mail-in voting] [[link removed]]

WHY TRUMP AND THE GOP DON’T WANT MAIL VOTING  
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Thom Hartmann
May 27, 2020
Raw Story
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_ The strongest tool Americans have to prevent Republican attempts at
voter suppression is mail-in voting _

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Trump and Republicans don’t want mail-in voting this November
because it blows up a couple of their most effective voter suppression
schemes.

In presidential elections dating back to 2000, there’s been
noticeable media coverage of long lines in majority-black precincts;
commentators sometimes wonder out loud why people would have to wait
in line 8 hours
[[link removed]] to vote in,
for example, inner city Ohio
[[link removed]] in
2004 or Milwaukee in the 2020
[[link removed]] primaries.

Leading up to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s contest with
Stacey Abrams in 2018, the _Atlanta Constitution-Journal_ documented
[[link removed]] how
8 percent of the state’s polling places had been recently closed,
hitting rural black areas particularly hard. The _Washington
Post_ chronicled
[[link removed]] how
broken voting machines—and the long lines they create—were largely
confined to downtown Atlanta and black suburbs and rural areas.

Defend democracy. Click to invest in courageous progressive journalism
today.
[[link removed]]

The effect, of course, is to discourage voters from showing up or
staying in line, particularly those people who are paid by the hour
and have to take time off work to vote.

“The strongest tool Americans have to prevent Republican attempts at
voter suppression is mail-in voting.”In minority voting precincts
with a long history of race-based voter suppression,
Republicans totally closed 868 polling places
[[link removed].] between
the 2013 Shelby County decision and the 2016 election. The result is
that between the 2012 and 2016 elections, black voting participation
fell
[[link removed]] nearly
7 percent.

With mail-in voting there is no long drive, bus ride, or wait in line,
so Republicans can’t rig things to make it harder for people to
vote. That particular voting suppression trick—which conservatives
have been running for over a century, particularly in the South—just
doesn’t work with mail-in voting.

Another trick the GOP likes is to merge the effects of voter
registration purges with “provisional” ballots.  First,
Republican Secretaries of State throw hundreds of thousands of people
off the voter rolls, disproportionately Hispanics and African
Americans, by using “merge/purge” lists of felons or voters from
other states with large black populations.

In 2018, investigative reporter Greg Palast sued a number of
Republican secretaries of state and got his hands on purge lists that
included more than 90,000 people in largely Democratic parts of
Nevada, 769,436 voters purged in Colorado, 340,134 in Georgia, 550,000
in Illinois, a large but as-yet-uncounted list from Nebraska, and
469,000 purged in Indiana.

The Brennan Center for Justice found
[[link removed].] that
just between 2014 and 2016, in the two years leading up to the
presidential election, over 14 million people were purged from voter
rolls, largely in Republican-controlled states. Kemp purged over a
million in Georgia alone.

Calling the findings “disturbing,” the Brennan Center noted,
“Almost 4 million more names were purged from the rolls between 2014
and 2016 than between 2006 and 2008. This growth in the number of
removed voters represented an increase of 33 percent—far
outstripping growth in both total registered voters (18 percent) and
total population (6 percent).”

But people don’t know they’ve been removed, so they show up to
vote anyway.  And vote they can—the 2002 Help America Vote Act
created an entirely new type ballot.

“I don’t see you here on the voter roll,” the person checking
people in to vote will say. “But here’s a provisional ballot that
you can vote on.  It looks identical to the normal ballots, it just
goes in a different box when you’re done.”

Provisional ballots are only counted at the discretion of the
Secretary of State, and in Red states are usually only counted when
there’s a lawsuit.  That’s why when John Kerry threw in the towel
in 2004, John Edwards told me on my radio show that he was furious
Kerry hadn’t sued because there were more unopened and uncounted
provisional ballots, mostly from black neighborhoods, than Bush’s
margin of victory.

But voters don’t know their provisional ballots won’t be counted,
so they think they voted.  And when they meet the exit pollster
outside the voting station, they tell them who they voted for and that
vote gets recorded in the exit poll, even though it’ll never make
its way into the official count.

This produces a phenomenon known as “Red Shift” where the exit
polls—the gold standard used across the world to measure the outcome
of an election—show Democrats winning but the actual “official”
count shifts red and awards the election to a Republican.

As I note in my book, “The Hidden History of the War on Voting
[[link removed]]”:

For example, in the 2016 election, the exit polls showed
[[link removed]] Hillary
Clinton carrying Florida by 47.7 percent to Trump’s 46.4 percent,
although the “actual” counted vote had Trump winning by 49.0
percent to 47.8 percent. Trump gained 2.5 percentage points . . .
somehow.

In North Carolina, exit polls
[[link removed]] showed
Clinton winning 48.6 percent to 46.5 percent, but the votes that were
counted turned out with Trump’s 49.9 to Clinton’s 46.1, a red
shift of 5.9 percentage points for the GOP.

Pennsylvania’s exit polls showed that Clinton won 50.5 percent to
Trump’s 46.1 percent, but when “eligible” votes were counted,
Trump carried the state 48.8 percent to Clinton’s 47.6 percent—a
red shift of 5.6 percentage points.

In Wisconsin, it was Clinton beating Trump in the exit polls 48.2
percent to 44.3 percent, but the “real” count put Trump over the
top at 48.8 percent to 47.6 percent, a red shift of 5.1 percentage
points.

With mail-in voting, people know before they vote if they’ve been
purged from the voter list, because they don’t get a ballot in the
mail.  Ballots are mailed out early enough that people who’ve been
purged will have time to figure out there’s a problem and contact
the Secretary of State’s office to get it fixed.

Like with closing polling places or putting in broken machines, this
particular type of voter suppression, which was responsible for Trump
winning the electoral college, doesn’t work.

Mail-in voting doesn’t cause working people to lose income by taking
time off to vote; they can vote from their kitchen table over the
weekend or on an unhurried evening.

Mail-in voting doesn’t force elderly people concerned about Social
Security to have to undergo the pain and trauma of a road trip
followed by standing for hours in line.  Particularly with Covid-19
and the flu on the loose in November.

Mail-in voting doesn’t give Republican “ballot challengers” the
ability to know a person’s race before they try to convince election
officials to move a ballot into the provisional box because of
“problems.”

The strongest tool Americans have to prevent Republican attempts at
voter suppression is mail-in voting.

Living in Oregon, where the state has been exclusively mail-in for
over 20 years, we have one of the highest rates of voter
participation in the country
[[link removed]] and
no evidence of so-called “voter fraud.” Louise and I sit down at
the dining room table and look over the ballot, run a web search on
various candidates and ballot initiatives we may not know, mark our
ballots, and then drop the postage-paid envelopes in the mailbox out
front.

There is only one reason Donald Trump and his Republican
co-conspirators object to mail-in voting: it blows up their most
effective and successful voter suppression schemes.

America must guarantee every citizen the right to vote, and national
mail-in voting is a great place to start.

_THOM HARTMANN [[link removed]] is
a talk-show host [[link removed]] and the author
of The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of
America
[[link removed]] and
more than 25 other books in print
[[link removed]]._

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