Republican Mike Garcia’s Congressional election victory by a double-digit margin through mainly mail-in voting in Los Angeles County is clearly shocking many liberals across the country.
Before the election took place, New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina wrote, "In 2018, liberal activists from Los Angeles flocked to the 25th District to knock on doors, fueling a high-profile victory for Democrats. A loss now would be a big turnaround."
Far beyond a "loss" this was a blow out.
The best Democrats could do to spin their awful night on a mail-in campaign was to point to the one other race in Wisconsin the same night, bragging that they "only" lost by 14 points. The trend was the same in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race where the Democrats won a race they almost couldn’t lose.
With Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and a hotly contested Milwaukee mayor’s race on the ballot that evening, Democrats still turned out a lower percentage of mail-in ballots in Milwaukee than in the most Republican counties in the state.
For anyone who did field work on campaigns for years, the reason Republicans should not fear mail-in voting in 2020 is crystal clear — the major threats to ballot security are eliminated by the continuing spread of coronavirus.
As the Heritage Foundation and others rightly point out, one big concern is political field operatives going into nursing homes and inner city homes located close together to get people to fill in ballots in their presence.
The ability to cast a secret ballot is lost in these "flushing" operations.
Can you imagine the liberal activists from Los Angeles who flocked to the 25th District in 2018 showing up this month during the coronavirus spread at voter doors and saying, "I wanted to help you fill out your ballot and mail it in for you, and I’ve already collected ballots from 1,000 people in two subdivisions and three other nursing homes!" They may as well wear a t-shirt saying, "I’m here to collect your ballot and give you COVID-19."
With coronavirus preventing activists from being on hand to watch people vote, 56% of senior citizens cast their ballots and mailed them in, compared to just 19% of young voters. This gave Republicans a huge edge.
Coronavirus not only makes it important that funding is available to sanitize voting places for in-person voting and to provide mail-in ballots for those who want them, but it ironically also helps ensure people can vote at home confidentially for whom they (perhaps secretly) support.
In 2016, polls were off by a couple of points due to people who did not want to admit who they were really supporting. Voting at home or in a nursing home without activists looking over your shoulder gives everyone the chance to vote without risking spreading the virus, but also without an activist knowing who you support.
Like with the 571- page HR1 bill introduced to "fix our democracy" last year, the Democrats first proposal to fund state election efforts includes their Christmas tree wish list. Issues like same day voter registration, mailing ballots to all voters, and getting rid of the Voter ID requirements used by more than 90% of democracies and supported by two-thirds of Americans are the partisan add-ons.
If that’s their "opening bid" on legislation, Republicans can respond in one of two ways.
They could simply point out the partisan parts of the proposals, refuse to pass anything and simply fight it out as a campaign issue where Democrats say Republicans are denying people the option of voting at home.
However, the better counter-argument and strategy would be an alternate bill including a combination of voting through the Voatz app already used successfully by Utah Republicans, allowing anyone who wants to ask for a mail-in ballot to do so for 2020 only, letting states choose how to verify the vote was cast by them and not someone who picked up one of the millions of ballots thrown away, and also balance the ability to vote in-person by having funding for National Guard to sanitize voting places.
While this is a nonpartisan issue, if Republicans pursue the first option, they will get beaten up on the issue. The big dropoff in voting where mail in is not an option will result in a huge drop off in voting by senior citizens who are most likely to die if they get COVID-19.
A substantial dropoff in voting by senior citizens would also have resulted in Hillary Clinton’s election, and there is a good chance Republicans would have once again lost California’s Los Angeles Congressional District this week.
If Republicans pursue the second option, a lot of negotiation would follow, but with liberal activists prevented from grabbing up mail-in ballots the way they have done in the past.
The net result would be appreciation from the actual voter who is concerned about risking their health by having to vote in person, now being able to vote from home with the confidence that the winner in November is a legitimate winner.
John Pudner is Executive Director of Takeback.org, a non-profit home for Americans seeking true political reform. Our conservative solutions include: stopping illicit foreign money from impacting elections; ending pay-to-play in government contracting; and restoring the Reagan-era federal tax credit for small-dollar political contributions, which will encourage more citizens to become donors and help re-balance the campaign finance system. Read John Pudner's Reports — More Here.
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