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As Trump attacks mail voting, GOP officials confront signs of Republican turnout crisis

The Washington Post reports:

President Trump’s unfounded attacks on mail balloting are discouraging his own supporters from embracing the practice, according to polls and Republican leaders across the country, prompting growing alarm that one of the central strategies of his campaign is threatening GOP prospects in November.

Multiple public surveys show a growing divide between Democrats and Republicans about the security of voting by mail, with Republicans saying they are far less likely to trust it in November. In addition, party leaders in several states said they are encountering resistance among GOP voters who are being encouraged to vote absentee while also seeing the president describe mail voting as “rigged” and “fraudulent.”

As a result, state and local Republicans across the country fear they are falling dramatically behind in a practice that is expected to be key to voter turnout this year. Through mailers and Facebook ads, they are racing to promote absentee balloting among their own.

In the process, some Republican officials have tried to draw a distinction between “absentee ballots,” which Trump claims are secure, and “mail ballots,” which he has repeatedly attacked. The terms are typically used interchangeably. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports:

President Donald Trump threatened legal action Monday after Nevada’s Legislature passed a bill to mail ballots to all active voters, suggesting the measure would make it impossible for Republicans to win there in November’s general election.

“In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”

The president’s social media post came after Nevada state lawmakers approved legislation on Sunday to automatically send mail-in ballots to voters. Nevada Gov. Stephen Sisolak, a Democrat, is expected to sign the legislation into law. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports:

While there are still 92 days until Election Day, the president has as little as half as much time to begin closing the gap with Joe Biden, according to interviews with nearly two dozen Republican and Democratic Party officials and strategists.

Trump’s window is smaller — and his margin for error tighter — because of an expected surge in mail voting due to the coronavirus and because the electorate this year appears more hardened than in 2016, with fewer undecided voters to peel off in the closing days of the contest.

Voters will begin receiving ballots in key swing states as early as next month. In North Carolina, elections officials will start sending ballots to voters on Sept. 4. Four more battleground states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Minnesota — will begin mailing ballots or start early voting by the end of September.

All of that will happen before the first presidential debate, on Sept. 29. Arizona, Ohio and Iowa will start early voting right after, in the first seven days of October. [Continue reading…]

Mother Jones reports:

In order for absentee balloting to work, voters have to receive their ballots in a timely manner and return them in a timely manner. For that to happen, the US Postal Service needs more resources. (Voters will also have to ensure that their ballots are not discarded for problems with the ballot envelope, like a missing or mismatched signature, which regularly result in tossed ballots.) But amid a lack of resources, there are fears that the Trump administration is purposefully sabotaging mail delivery in the United States in an effort not only to interfere with the election but ultimately privatize the Postal Service.

President Trump began undermining the service early in his administration, in part as an attack against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos because, Trump believed, USPS’s rates were too favorable to the e-commerce giant. Trump also faced pressure to privatize the Postal Service, long a goal among many conservatives; a precursor to privatization is to starve the Postal Service of funds so that it appears in need of rescuing.

The coronavirus pandemic only made the situation for the cash-strapped service more dire as a drop in sending packages cost billions in much-needed revenue. Recently, Trump installed a loyal mega-donor, Louis DeJoy, as postmaster general. DeJoy has stopped overtime pay for clerks and mail carriers necessary for completing each day’s deliveries on time. The result of overlapping and preventable crises is that mail delivery is slowing, in some places considerably, just when American democracy is dependent on mail delivery happening on time. [Continue reading…]

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