U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the coronavirus pandemic presents “an opportunity” to change the way U.S. citizens vote forever, echoing several other prominent Democrats who have suggested the voting system could be completely overhauled in response to the crisis.
“Coronavirus gives us an opportunity to revamp our electoral system so that it permanently becomes more inclusive and becomes easier for the American people to access,” Holder told Time magazine.
“There has to be a sea change in our thinking there,” the Obama administration official said when asked his thoughts on mail-in ballots. “Allow people to access their primary American right by voting at home.”
“It’s not as if this is an untried concept,” Holder continued. “Oregon has been doing this for years. But we have to make sure that we’re being sensitive to the needs of poor communities and communities of color by doing things like having prepaid postage on envelopes. Construct a system so that you’ve got expanded in-person voting, you’ve got expanded at-home voting and expanded no-excuse absentee vote-at-home measures.”
He added that he believes changes to the American voting system during the pandemic will “enhance our democracy.”
President Trump denounced the push for mail-in ballots earlier this month, stating that they offer “tremendous potential for voter fraud.”
Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans. @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
As for Democrats, Holder is far from alone in his way of thinking and is just one of many voices pushing for increased mail-in voting during the coronavirus crisis.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made similar statements, telling reporters that Republicans were “afraid” of such a system.
“We have a different value system about what voting means to a democracy,” Pelosi asserted during a call with reporters, referring to Republicans. “Clearly, we want to remove all obstacles to participation.”
“Republicans know how to vote by mail,” Pelosi continued. “So [President Trump] shouldn’t belittle the ability of Republicans to make their voices heard for the candidates they support, and not be afraid of the voice of the people. But they are. And that’s one of the reasons they want to stand in the way of a more open democratic system at a time of a pandemic.”
The Democratic push for distance voting comes in spite of reports over the past several weeks suggesting over 28 million mail-in ballots have been lost in the last decade and that thousands of ineligible voters, including many deceased individuals, could possibly receive mail-in ballots.
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