US 2020 elections, why is Trump opposed to mail order? | Milena Gabanelli

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A political battle is being played on the coronavirus in the United States: on 3 November the new president will be elected and it is probable that there will still be avoid crowding, such as those created at polling stations. Democrats are fighting to extend the ballot by mail, which is already possible in 34 states, even to the other 16, so as to allow as many citizens as possible to express their preference without going to the polling stations. Republicans are opposed. To move them, even during the pandemic, not so much the health of citizens, as much a political calculation: Democrats believe that an increase in turnout benefits them, Republicans damaging them.

The pandemic and the vote by mail

A Republican candidate in this country would no longer be elected, he summarized in recent weeks Fox News President Donald Trump, who considers the vote by correspondence fraudulent and dangerous and that, in late May, it threatened to block access to federal funds for the states of Michigan and Nevada that were starting to program it. Thousands of people could go to the living room to fill out cards, he said in April. The president leads his battle via Twitter, with the social network that at the end of May was forced to add fact-checking for the first time to his tweets: Trump’s reaction came with an executive order, which made all social networks responsible for what they publish.

The recent chronicles for do not report fraud, if not some small attempt by party officials. An analysis conducted by Washington Post and by the non-profit Electronic Registration Information Center on the election data of Colorado, Oregon and Washington State in 2016 and 2018, for example, it found 372 cases of possible fraud – double votes or suffrages expressed on behalf of deceased persons – on a total of 14.6 million cards sent by post. This is 0.0025 percent of the vote, a minuscule percentage that confirms what election officials claim across the United States: With the right precautions, mail-order voting is a surefire way to conduct elections in the midst of a pandemic. A study by the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research also believes that voting by mail actually doesn’t benefit anyone: Since it was first introduced in California, Utah and Washington State, where the majority vote is so, neither side has benefited from it.
Where to vote by mail and where not

More and more states – of both sides – are therefore moving to extend the vote by mail, which Michelle Obama is also promoting through the non-profit When We All Vote. A study by the Brennan Center for Justice shows that in 34 American states and in the capital Washington D.C. you are already allowed to vote by post without needing a reason, e in five of the West even the main method. In 11 of the other 16 states – which only allowed it for particular, mostly health reasons – restrictions were eased in the spring for primaries and, in some cases, for presidential elections.


Trump’s crusade against voting by post supported, and funded with $ 20 million, by conservative lobbyists, who in Nevada and Virginia they brought the matter to court. In other states – mostly Louisiana and Oklahoma – it was the republican majority parliaments that tried to slow down the process. The biggest challenge I face right now make the concept of mail-order voting less toxic to Republicanshe explained to National Public Radio Kentucky Conservative Secretary of State Michael Adams, who manages election registers and voting arrangements.


Who favors

The risk of repeating what happened last week in Georgia or in April in Wisconsin. In the first case – in a conservative state that has a long tradition of suppressing the right to vote – there were long queues, problems with the expensive machinery purchased and delays due to the absence of electoral material and the closure of several seats, in particular in African American majority neighborhoods which tend to vote democratic. Despite this, mail order votes went from an average of 40,000 to nearly one million.

The line to vote in Wisconsin at the primary held in April during the lockdown
In Wisconsin, to avoid the contagions, the Democratic Governor Tony Evers had instead decided at last to close the seats and extend the deadline for voting by mail. The Republican majority parliament opposed because the rules cannot be changed, and the conservative Supreme Court of the State has canceled the executive order for abuse of office, forcing half a million citizens to physically go to vote and put their health at risk. Over a million voters, however, received the ballot in time to vote by mail, the increased turnout and the fear of conservatives was confirmed: the Republican candidate – a judge from the Supreme Court himself – was defeated.
The abolition of the right to vote

This story it is not just a simple local election: in Wisconsin, four years ago, Trump struck the knockout blow to Hillary Clinton, winning by a few votes: 22,748 votes out of almost 2.8 million voters. Beyond the pandemic, however, that on the right to vote a battle that has been going on for decades, and is not limited to voting by post. In the United States, voter turnout is quite low – in the last 40 years the record was established in 2008, with 58.2% of those entitled – also because citizens to vote must register in advance in the electoral lists, with ways that vary in every state and that, especially in the conservative ones of the South, they tend to make life more difficult for the voters of the poorer classes and minorities, who tend to vote democratic.


To limit voter turnout, republican states require a registration fee, an identity document when in all the United States it is sufficient to declare their generalities and many do not have it, or remove citizens from the electoral rolls who do not respond to the letters of the electoral commission, as happened to about 210,000 people in Wisconsin last year.


The motivation is always the same: Democrats aim to enlarge the electorate, Republicans tend to hinder it to limit turnout. Beyond political justifications, all experts agree that mail-order voting is becoming the norm: in the 2016 presidential elections, almost 25% of preferences were expressed as double, compared to 2004. And in 2018, in the mid-term elections, the percentage still increased.


Threat hacker for online voting

An alternative would be online voting, tried last week by voters from Delaware and West Virginia who spoke on phones and computers. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston showed that OmniBallot, the platform used, can be tampered with without the voters, the electoral office and even the supplier company. knowing. According to cyber security experts, transferring elections to the Internet would be a huge risk that the United States is not prepared to face, much higher than that set by the correspondence vote: it would endanger the privacy of the voters, the secret ballot and the reliability of the result, which could be influenced by hackers. The United States also does not have a digital and centralized identification system like that of Estonia, which has held every election online since 2005.

Trump’s trump card: postal delays

US elections, because

The real problem this year is another, and will concern the large amount of cards that will arrive by correspondence. In 2018, 430,000 were canceled due to postal delays, and the risk of tipping over a system that has been in crisis for some time and to which Trump is waging war. In April, Congress had allocated a $ 13 billion aid package to the United States Postal Service, but the president – while he is distributing money to all Americans – blocked them, asking for stakes to raise tariffs, particularly in Amazon. The request was accepted, also because in the meantime Louis DeJoey, Trump’s close ally, arrived at the head of the post office. The right man to look back on the president in the war on mail-order voting.

June 16, 2020 | 22:13

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