Increasingly, Republicans across the country are beginning to take up the Trump narrative about voting by mail-in ballot in order to amplify what is, on its face, a ridiculous notion: That somehow “mail-in” voting — in which one is sent a ballot that they fill out and postmark back to the election center — and “absentee” voting — in which one requests a ballot which is sent to them, that they then fill out and postmark back to the election center — are two different things.
The reason it’s come up now is simple. Republican efforts to win perennially depend on voter suppression. Not just suppression of specific demographics, either. When voter turnout is low, Republicans do better, because the vast majority of America isn’t conservative, but those who are seem to be very committed to voting. Put more plainly, you could have a room with 100 people in it, 65 percent of them Democrats, but if the Republicans could keep half of the Democrats from voting, they would win any partisan contest held in that room, despite being only 35 percent of the total.
The problem with the “mail-in voting is ripe for fraud” narrative is that so many Republicans already have a long record of voting by mail. It’s not actually any more susceptible to fraud than anything else, and it’s convenient, so why would they not have done it themselves? In fact, in some areas, Republicans were MORE likely to vote by mail than Democrats, since the demographic that conservatism appeals to — old people — is increasingly bound to their homes by frailty or loss of the ability to drive.
That’s the dilemma for San Diego County Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric, who presides over that rare pocket of red in a deep blue state. He tweeted back in May that mail-in voting was “fraught with danger,” something that Trump has been trying to convince people of since slightly before then:
So, Democrats, a question for you: We can go to the grocery store but we can’t go to a polling place? Got it. Makes sense. Not. Vote-by-mail is fraught with danger, from millions of ballots floating around, some delivered to wrong people, some not delivered at all, and much more. pic.twitter.com/OXeSHRFsIj
— Tony Krvaric – Text TRUMP to 484848 – 🇺🇸🇸🇪🇭🇷 (@TonyKrvaric) May 4, 2020
As you can see, Krvaric is a Trump supporter, and his talking points match those of Trump’s own campaign. But the non-profit news agency Voice of San Diego asked Krvaric about it, and the fact that he doubled down on the “fraught with danger” rhetoric in yet another press release just last week is belied by his voting record.
It turns out that Krvaric, who, like the conservatives we described earlier, is a loyal voter, has now voted an astounding 22 consecutive times by mail. Because he could, and it was convenient.
In his response to VOSD, Krvaric essentially said it was okay for him to do because he’s more responsible than other voters:
The problem is not my ballot, which I know to expect and usually drop off at the polling place but have mailed in a few times but would make sure to track that my ballot was received.”
Okay, but 22 isn’t “a few times,” Tony. And saying it’s safe for you to do it because you vote correctly doesn’t sound a whole lot different than saying you should be allowed because you’re a Republican.
Four states, including the one your humble author is submitting this article from, vote entirely by mail. Statewide elections here in Washington state have permitted all-mail-in voting since I was in high school almost 30 years ago and it’s been more than a decade since every county except one here was conducting elections entirely through the mail. Even that last straggler county made the switch all the way back in 2014.
We did a study in 2018 — long after we’d been voting by mail as a force of habit — and found that of the 3.2 million ballots cast that year, 142 were fraudulent, like someone using a ballot mailed to someone else who’d passed away before the election, or trying to vote more than once. That’s four one-thousandths of one percent, a number that looks like change from a penny.
Trump’s made it even more plain that it’s about voter suppression by installing a lackey at the Postal Service, who has already admitted to implementing policies that literally slow down the mail. But Tony Krvaric is ground-level proof that it’s nothing more than election year chicanery designed to take advantage of the pandemic, which is keeping people in their homes and doing half the GOP’s work for them.
Featured image via Facebook
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