Trump's Campaign Is Engaged In Lawsuits All Over The Country To Try To Make Safe Voting More Difficult
from the self-interest-shouldn't-be-so-blindingly-apparent-y'all dept
Anyone still hoping for an orderly election and, if need be, a peaceful transition of power hasn’t been paying attention to much that’s happened over the past few months. As the presidential election approaches, everything is still in a disturbing state of flux. Multiple states have failed to flatten the COVID-19 curve, necessitating some walking back of earlier “everything’s fine” pronouncements.
The safest way to vote may be from the comfort of your own home. But that option doesn’t appeal to President Trump, his campaign, or the Republican National Committee. All have engaged in a lot of unhelpful — if not actually deadly — rhetoric against both at-home voting and the general use of any protective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
It’s not like “distance voting” is a novelty. Absentee voting happens all the time. Just because there will be more quasi-absentee votes to count during this election is no reason to believe voters at home will engage in widespread voter fraud. Voter fraud is almost nonexistent. Enough checks are in place to prevent most of it and there’s very little evidence anyone has ever engaged in a massive conspiracy to rig a presidential election.
Since the Trump Campaign (and the president himself) don’t have facts on their side, they’ve decided to lawyer up. Voter suppression has always been a thing, but these entities want it blessed by courts, if not actually codified.
President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party are devoting millions of dollars to wage a state-by-state legal battle against mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, not only suing state officials but also intervening in cases where they aren’t a party to limit how Americans can vote from home.
BuzzFeed News identified at least 11 cases where the Trump campaign has asked judges for permission to intervene to defend state and local policies that voting rights advocates argue will make it harder for people to safely vote during the pandemic. That’s in addition to more than half a dozen lawsuits the campaign has filed with the Republican National Committee contesting efforts by Democratic governors and other state and local officials to expand mail-in voting.
Here are a few of the things Trump’s campaign and the RNC are suing about. In one case, his campaign is trying to limit the number of ballot drop boxes available to voters. In another, they’re trying to prevent the automatic mailing of ballots or ballot request forms to voters. And these entities aren’t limiting themselves to trying to intercede in election-related lawsuits where they aren’t a party. They’re also suing states directly to prevent expansions of absentee or mail-in voting.
Whatever the reasons Trump’s lawyers state in their court filings, the real reason behind this flurry of litigation is the Trump campaign believes more votes means more votes for Joe Biden.
Early data compiled by the United States Elections Project at the University of Florida show that in Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado, absentee ballot requests are up compared to previous election cycles, with registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans.
So, when Trump says something like this…
“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said at the time. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think— I think it puts the election at risk.”
… he doesn’t mean the election is at risk. He means his continued federal employment is at risk.
No one wants a fraudulent election. But that’s the least likely outcome of expanded at-home voting. It does no good to argue we shouldn’t do it this way because it’s never been done this way before. A global pandemic has changed the definition of social interactions, possibly for years to come. Fighting in court to force people to choose between their health and their vote doesn’t make election results more authentic. It just makes sure a large number of people won’t have their voices heard.