Skelton: Trump’s mail voting threat is out of touch with reality

If re-elected, former President Trump promises to ban postal voting, give only one day to vote and complete the count on election night.

He claims mail-in ballots and extended election periods are riddled with fraud. But there is no evidence anywhere of significant voter fraud.

And it shows how little contact he has with America’s electoral systems.

Twenty-seven states allow so-called “no excuse” absentee voting, meaning citizens can vote by mail for any reason. Eight of those states, including California, Oregon, and Washington, mail ballots to all active registered voters.

Every state allows some form of postal voting.

Based on previous charts, approximately 88% of the votes in California in November’s elections were cast by absentee ballot. This percentage is likely to increase once the count is complete.

California has warmly welcomed the absentee ballot. In the gubernatorial election 20 years ago, only 27% voted by mail; 40 years ago it was just 6.5%.

Even the Republican leaders of that state use absentee ballots.

“I voted by mail in California for years,” California GOP chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson told me in an email. “And every time my ballot was accepted and counted. It’s easy, it’s convenient and it works for me.”

But Patterson led the California GOP as it and the national party sued to block Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to send all registered voters mail-in ballots during the 2020 pandemic. The lawsuit became moot when lawmakers replaced the order with legislation. She then promoted early voting with absentee ballots.

“Voting by mail is becoming increasingly popular in our state,” Patterson wrote via email. “Democrats use this method effectively and have the results to show. Whether it’s voting by mail, early voting in person, ballot picking, or voting on Election Day, California Republicans need to be aware that there is no right or wrong way to vote… [We need] to make sure there are no votes on the table.”

Demagogue Trump is not listening. Part of his MAGA comeback platform is to severely narrow down the choices.

“This is just the beginning of our agenda for national greatness,” he announced last month during his rambling, more than hour-long candidacy announcement.

“To eliminate fraud,” Trump vowed, “I will immediately require voter ID, same-day voting and paper ballots only…. So easy.

“And we want all the votes to be counted by election night… They end [counting] Two weeks later, three weeks later. At that point, everyone forgot there was even an election. It’s terrible…

“I will do this work. This is a very personal task for me.”

Yes, he’s still a denier – he claims the 2020 election was stolen despite no legitimate evidence to back it up. At least, that’s what he claims to believe.

Trump has been complaining about postal vote fraud for years, even if he votes by post himself.

“There’s a lot of dishonesty going on in postal voting,” he accused in 2020 with zero evidence.

Another time, he tweeted, “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide absentee ballots. Huge potential for voter fraud and, for whatever reason, doesn’t work well for Republicans.”

So this is the real reason why Trump rejects absentee ballots. He has the wrong impression that it hurts Republicans.

The guy didn’t do his homework.

Republicans used to live by voting by mail in California. In 1960, Republican Richard Nixon narrowly defeated John F. Kennedy in postal ballots. They also gave Republican gubernatorial candidate George Deukmejian a tiny lead over Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley in 1982.

Ryan Ronco, longtime voter registrar for Republican-dominated Placer County, which stretches from the suburbs of Sacramento to the Sierra to Lake Tahoe, recalls when the GOP used absentee ballots “much more than the Democratic Party did as a tool to get voting done.” to achieve – back to the 1990s and 2000s.

“It was only recently, when President Trump began smearing mail-in ballots, that Republicans began to suspect potential shenanigans.”

But he says every scam is tiny and insignificant.

Ronco, President of the California Assn. of Clerks and Election Officials, estimates that 95% of the votes cast in Placer County during November’s election were absentee ballots.

So these GOP voters obviously didn’t pay attention to Trump’s whining.

In Los Angeles County, about 80% of the votes counted were cast in the mail.

“Nothing has ever revealed any major fraud,” said Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

“It’s largely being driven by Trump or people unhappy with the last election. I don’t think the noise it makes really affects how people vote.”

There is no better proof of this than San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican national committeewoman and co-chair of Women for Trump in 2020. She uses mail-in ballots.

Dhillon represented the GOP in their lawsuit against Newsom’s mail-in ballot. That year, she supported Kari Lake, Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, who has consistently accused voter fraud. And she has written that “universal voting by mail poses significant risk of … fraud, errors, delays, and other problems.”

“However, we have to work with the rules that we have,” she told me. “Once the ballot is mailed to me, I fill it out early – I like to get it out of the way – and throw it in the post or a ballot box. And I encourage other Republicans to do the same. Why not?”

No reason. Better to wait in line under an umbrella or dodge the flu germs of a coughing voter.

Early voting also helps Republican candidates, Dhillon says. They can learn who has already cast ballots and “focus on a smaller universe as they hunt voters.”

But there won’t be an early vote if Trump has his way. Many states — including Red Texas and Florida — now allow it.

And tellers are not allowed to carefully add up everything. You have to hurry and get it ready by Trump’s bedtime. Skelton: Trump’s mail voting threat is out of touch with reality

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