The defining fight of the 2020 election — universal / automatic mail-in ballots — is escalating.
“President Trump on Monday claimed he has the authority to issue an executive order addressing the widespread use of mail-in ballots, which he has argued serves as a breeding ground for voter fraud and puts the integrity of the presidential election at risk. ‘I have the right to do it,’ Trump said during a news briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the White House. ‘We haven’t got there yet, but we’ll see what happens.'” (National Review)
- What’s happening: Democrats — and some state governors — have continued the push for automatic mail-in ballots, i.e. ballots sent out to all registered voters without any request. (See the next story in The Vote for more information.) In response, President Trump said he may consider an executive order.
- What’s at stake: The 2020 election. Perhaps literally. Here are the key issues at play:
(1) States set their own election rules, so it’s unlikely a president could issue an executive order that curtails them. But once again, President Trump has raised an important rhetorical point and forced the media to address the issue.
(2) Democrats have filed lawsuits to try to change voting procedures for the 2020 election. But in Florida, a major Democratic super PAC withdrew its lawsuit … in what was seen as a big win for Republicans in a critical swing state.
No wonder the left prefers to have state governors make sweeping changes to voting with the stroke of a pen.
(3) Democrats (and the mainstream media which writes glowing reports about them) want to expand voting by mail as much as possible. That includes automatically mailing ballots out to all registered voters in the state — without any request or action from voters. Normally, to vote by mail, voters must request an absentee ballot.
(4) President Trump and many Republicans have warned this may increase voter fraud. It’s also a logistical nightmare: CBS News did a mail-in ballot experiment and discovered serious issues … and New York took weeks to figure out the winner of a primary election due to the high number of mailed ballots.
Even the New York Times — no friend of President Trump! — headlined their story on it: “Why the Botched N.Y.C. Primary Has Become the November Nightmare.”
- What else to know: Law professor Justin Levitt is keeping a running list of all election-related lawsuits, many of which deal with absentee or mail ballots. Right now, there are more than 140 cases in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. Check out the list here (and then check back for updates!).
Democratic Nevada governor — who prioritized casinos over churches in his COVID-19 response — signs a universal / automatic mail-in ballot order.
“Nevada’s governor signed a bill ensuring that every registered voter in the state would receive a mail-in ballot ahead of November’s election despite threats of legal action from President Trump.” (The Hill)
- What’s happening: The Democratic governor of Nevada signed a bill that would automatically mail ballots to all registered voters ahead of the presidential election.
That’s a major change in voting procedure — though the media has focused more on President Trump’s tweet in response than what it means for voters. Read President Trump’s tweet for yourself here.
- What’s at stake: First, Nevada is an important battleground state, so changes to voting procedures could significantly alter the outcome of the 2020 election.
Second, once again you see the bias of the mainstream media at work: they cover sweeping orders like this one from Nevada the same as the traditional process for requesting absentee ballots by mail. But the two processes are totally different.
The Heritage Foundation has a thorough, compelling overview of how states can — and should — run absentee or “all-mail” elections … and how they may get it wrong. Check it out here and then compare it to the Nevada order.
We bet you’ll come to the same conclusion we did.
- What else to know: You may have seen the Nevada governor in the news recently. He ordered that businesses like casinos, bars, and gyms may re-open with 50% of their total capacity … but capped church attendance to 50 people, regardless of building size.
Cavalry Chapel Church in Nevada sued and took the case to the Supreme Court. Although the Court ruled against the church, the dissents from conservative Justices are worth reading. Check out an overview of the key points here.
Democratic New Mexico governor wanted to ban door-to-door political campaigning. (Yes, the same governor in the “jewelry store scandal” at the height of the pandemic.)
“During the same address, Grisham said she was ‘reminding candidates that they can’t be going door-to-door,’ because ‘that is just a terrible idea in a COVID world,’ local KRQE reported. The governor’s office pulled back on this the following day, telling the local station Friday that candidates are permitted to go door-to-door, provided they wear masks and maintain social distancing practices.” (Fox News)
- What’s happening: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico said she supported protests during COVID-19 but then seemed to ban political campaigns from going door-to-door to talk with voters for — you guessed it — concerns about coronavirus. She has since walked back (i.e. changed but didn’t formally retract) her remarks.
- What’s at stake: First, and most important, we want everyone to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19! That’s why campaigns and other political organizations have instituted safety protocols as they interact with voters, with measures like wearing face masks, standing six feet away from doors, and more.
Second, political campaigns are built on voter contact, i.e. talking directly with voters by phone or at their homes (“going door-to-door”). An arbitrary ban in one state on going door-to-door would significantly impede campaign efforts — and likely affect challenger candidates more than incumbents, as challengers usually have lower name recognition.
- What else to know: Earlier in the public response to COVID-19, Governor Grisham closed non-essential businesses in her state … but one was re-opened for her to buy jewelry. A local news station broke the story; since then, the governor’s office disputed how it was characterized. But, well, you can read the muddled response for yourself here.
Another “Squad” member in trouble. Will Rep. Tlaib keep her congressional seat?
“‘Squad’ member Rashida Tlaib is trying to fend off a serious challenge for her House seat in Michigan’s primary on Tuesday, in a rematch with the woman she narrowly defeated two years ago. Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, was seeking re-election to the 13th District in and around Detroit.” (Boston Globe)
- What’s happening: “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib is facing an important primary test in Michigan today. Rep. Tlaib narrowly beat her opponent in the 2018 Democratic primary; the margin was just 900 votes. So this is a serious re-match.
- What’s at stake: Although the progressives allied with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) are on the rise in the Democratic Party, they’re facing trouble in their own districts.
Rep. Tlaib is facing a major primary challenge, and Rep. Ilhan Ohmar is in a tough primary campaign against an opponent who’s out-raised her significantly.
- What else to know: Perhaps ironically, given all the changes progressives have pushed for in 2020, Rep. Tlaib’s primary opponent “beat Tlaib with mail-in voters” in the 2018 primary, as The Hill reported. That must be a concern given the sharp increase in voting by mail this year.