Tags: 2020 Elections | Coronavirus | Voting Rights | mail-in | ballot | election | vote

Red State Legislators Push Back on Mail-in Ballot Moves

a graphic showing mail-in ballots flying into a blue mailbox

By    |   Tuesday, 30 June 2020 04:19 PM

Republicans in red states are proposing bills to push back against general election absentee ballot applications sent out by their secretaries of state amid the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The states include COVID-19-hit states like Arizona and Georgia and those with far fewer infections like Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming, according to The Hill.

Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill to require the secretary of state to get approval from a bipartisan legislative council before sending out absentee ballot request forms. GOP Secretary of State Paul Pate had sent out applications to active voters for the primary and 80% of 524,000 Iowa's June primary votes were cast via absentee ballots.

Georgia's House failed to pass a bill to prohibit GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger or any elected official from mailing out absentee ballot applications, but Raffensperger already vowed to not mass mail general election absentee ballots.

"Voters on both sides of the political spectrum agree that sending absentee applications to all active voters was the safest and best thing our office could do to protect voters at the peak of COVID-19," Raffensperger said in a statement last week, per The Hill. "Some seem to be saying that our office should have ignored the wave of absentee voters that was clearly coming."

In Ohio, a bill seeks to stop the state from paying the return postage after GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose fought against being restricted from mass mailing absentee ballot request forms, per the report.

Democrats and voting rights activists call the efforts to limit absentee ballot mailing an attempt at voter suppression, while Republicans call it election security measures.

"It's really legislators who don't have the direct understanding of the election process who are making these moves," University of Wisconsin's Elections Research Center Director Barry Burden told The Hill. "It smacks more of brazen partisanship rather than pragmatic policymaking.

"It's Republicans in state legislators hunkering down and adopting the party line from the president, rather than consulting in good faith with their election officials who actually understand how the system works and what the needs are," Burden added.

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General election absentee ballot applications sent out by their secretaries of state amid the global coronavirus pandemic are getting push back from Republicans in red states who are proposing bills to limit the practice.
mail-in, ballot, election, vote, pandemic
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 04:19 PM
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