Former first lady Michelle Obama released a video Tuesday urging people to support early voting and mail-in voting for the November elections.
In a video message uploaded by the get-out-the-vote group When We All Vote, which she co-chairs, Obama cited the coronavirus pandemic and praised nationwide protests before appealing for broad support to change the way the country votes.
“Fair and safe voting is going be more important than ever this year, and that’s why When We All Vote is fighting to expand vote-by-mail, in-person early voting and online voter registration,” she said.
The former first lady then asked viewers to “just spread the word.
“Make sure your friends, families and communities are registered, know their rights and are fully prepared to vote by mail this year or vote early in person,” she said. “Let’s get more folks across the country trained with the tools, the resources and the information they’ll need to vote, because this election couldn’t be more important.”
That bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, would “Provide all voters with the option of online requests for absentee ballots and require states to accept requests received up until and 5 days prior to Election Day,” according to a summary of the legislation released by its sponsors.
“There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life,” Obama said in a statement to Axios.
She also claimed that mail-in ballots could help keep Americans safe amid the pandemic.
“No American should have to choose between making their voice heard and staying safe. Expanding access to #VoteByMail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment — they’re also long overdue,” Obama tweeted.
No American should have to choose between making their voice heard and staying safe. Expanding access to #VoteByMail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment—they’re also long overdue. https://t.co/s0KZ2Pj6zw
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) April 13, 2020
Of course, that tweet was sent in April, before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, when many Americans were still somewhat content to avoid large gatherings.
Since May 25, however, nationwide protests, riots and other gatherings have been ample proof enough for critics of mail-in voting that Americans can safely vote in person.
Another critique of mail-in voting is that mail ballots are vulnerable to fraud.
President Donald Trump has maintained that mail-in voting leaves open an opportunity for malevolent actors to steal votes and rig the election in their favor.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton explained his thoughts on the dangers of mail-in voting to Fox News host Sean Hannity last week.
“There is a grave danger of fraud from mail-in balloting,” the Arkansas Republican said.
“Let’s be clear about the difference between mail-in balloting and absentee ballots. When you vote absentee, you submit an application. You expect the ballot. You get it. You mail it back in. There’s a track record at every step of the process,” he added.
“These states like Nevada and New York that want to move to mail-in balloting, they’re talking about sending a live, real ballot to every single person who is registered, whether they wanted one or not, whether their address has been verified, whether they are alive or dead, and then they’re going to allow ballot harvesting as well, which is when party activists can come around and pick up hundreds or thousands of those ballots and return them without any knowledge of what coercion may have [been] used, or what tactics they may have used to pick it up,” Cotton said.
Cotton concluded mail-in ballots are “rife for fraud.”
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