Ohio’s GOP Secretary Of State Pushes Back On Trump’s Attacks On Mail-In Voting

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) on Sunday rejected claims President Donald Trump has made that mail-in voting increases the risk for voter fraud. 

Trump and other GOP leaders have rebuffed efforts by top Democrats to push for more federal investment in mail-in voting to ease the voting process for Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

LaRose, a veteran state legislator before winning his current office in 2018, was asked by a Dayton Daily News reporter to respond to a Trump tweet on Saturday that asserted, without evidence, that mail-in balloting “substantially increases the risk of crime and VOTER FRAUD!”

LaRose said fraud was not a significant issue for mail-in voting in his state. “I can tell you that’s not the case in Ohio,” LaRose replied. “As I’ve said, we’re fortunate that we’ve been doing vote by mail for a long time. We know how to do it, and we know how to get it done securely.”

Five states currently conduct all elections entirely by mail ― Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington ― and many other states have adopted rules making it easy to do. The issue was spotlighted after actions by Republican legislators and court decisions forced Wisconsin to go forward with in-person voting in its presidential primary and elections for some state and local offices last Tuesday despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging Americans to continue practicing social distancing.

At a White House briefing on Tuesday, Trump called mail-in voting “horrible” and “corrupt.” A reporter noted that Trump, officially a resident of Florida, has been voting by mail. Asked to reconcile that, the president said he voted by mail “because I’m allowed to.

Trump last week also claimed, again without evidence, that mail-in voting benefits Democrats and hurts Republicans. Several studies, including recent data compiled by professors from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found no conclusive of significant advantages for Democrats in mail-in voting. 

For a large number of in-person voters in Wisconsin, the results of Tuesday’s balloting included hours-long lines and large gatherings of people at the limited polling places available due to understaffing. In Milwaukee County, the state’s largest county, election officials consolidated 180 polling places to merely five on Election Day, disproportionately impacting communities with large Black and brown populations.

At the time, Ben Wikler, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to disallow an extension for absentee voting that would discourage in-person voting would “disenfranchise untold thousands of Wisconsin voters and consign an unknown number of Wisconsinites to their deaths.

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