Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a new plan Tuesday with the stated goal of “Protecting Our Elections During the Coronavirus Pandemic." It's all good, sensible stuff that you can read here. Specifically, Warren argues that because in-person voting on Election Day — yes, even in November — could pose a public health risk, we should finally get around to doing what we should've done long ago and shift to a vote-by-mail system. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar have also introduced a federal bill moving all 50 states to vote by mail.

Warren proposes that the next coronavirus recovery package include provisions for safe, accessible voting. This includes requiring that states mail a ballot to every registered voter with a prepaid return envelope and providing states with $4 billion in federal funding to help them transition quickly to vote-by-mail. Warren also wants to stop states from pulling a Brian Kemp and removing voters from registration rolls willy nilly Jim Crow like. States would have to actively prove someone has moved or died because voters will find it difficult to reregister during the pandemic.

This is all great so of course Donald Trump just hates it. He's already confessed on live TV that if more people vote, fewer Republicans are elected. Yesterday, during his Jerry Lewis lie-athon press briefing, he claimed — without evidence — that voting by mail is “corrupt."


The president supports convenient, safe voting for himself just not for other people who either aren't Donald Trump or who wouldn't vote for Trump at gunpoint. Trump helpfully clarified for the uppity lady reporter that when he voted in Florida elections while in DC that was "called out of state." Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: You know why I voted [by mail]. Because I happen to be in the White House ... There's a big difference between somebody that's out of state and does a ballot and everything's sealed, certified and everything else ...

This moron is literally describing the existing vote-by-mail system, which in his twisted imagination is some liberal voting sweatshop where fraudulent Democratic votes are churned out.

TRUMP: Thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody's living room signing ballots all over the place. No, I think mail-in voting is a terrible thing. I think if you vote you should go ...

If Trump believed in the sanctity of in-person voting, he could've dropped by his local polling place during one of his frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago. Trump also expressed his contempt for early voting, which is still in-person voting. It's obvious that Trump wants voting to be as difficult as possible because he believes that benefits Republicans.

TRUMP: You should go and you should vote. You should go and you should vote.

Trump said this twice but didn't do it once. He then proceeded to just make up crap about voting by mail.

TRUMP: You look at what they do, where they grab thousands of mail-in ballots and they dump it. I'll tell you what — and I don't have to tell you, you can look at the statistics — there's a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting, mail-in ballots.

There is no documented “dishonesty" involving voting by mail, except for what Republicans did in North Carolina. Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, and Hawaii have all used the system for a while without major incident. There are some legitimate concerns about mail-in ballots, but that's not what's bugging Trump. He tweeted this morning that “for whatever reason," voting by mail "doesn't work out well for Republicans."

Sure, Utah is the only reliably “red" state that votes by mail, but correlation is not causation. The Seattle Times reported in 2011 that two years after moving to vote by mail, voter turnout had not increased. However, Washington is a very white state and Republicans have targeted black districts with its worst voter suppression tactics, closing polling placings very discriminately. This was demonstrated again during Tuesday's shit show in Wisconsin. Madison had 66 polling sites. Milwaukee had all of five. Madison has a population of 255,000, and Milwaukee has a population of 595,000. This would seem to make zero sense until you look at the racial demographics and seethe: Madison is 74 percent white and just 6 percent black. Milwaukee is 38 percent black and just 34 percent white.

This was appalling when it just anti-democratic. Now it's a public health hazard where minorities exercising their right to vote in Wisconsin were more likely to have exposed themselves to the coronavirus (social distancing was almost impossible). Trump can whine all he wants, but it's time for all states to enact vote by mail.

[Medium]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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