‘I don’t know what Donald Trump has against soldiers’: GOP voter suppression efforts disenfranchises troops, Democrats say

GOP has ‘given up on the idea of persuading voters and is instead turning to the idea of suppressing voters,’ Pete Buttigieg said on Sunday

Griffin Connolly
Washington
Sunday 01 November 2020 20:53
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Trump predicts 'great red wave' of Republican votes on election night

Democrats are hammering Republicans who are attempting to curtail the count of mail-in votes through the federal courts, saying that military personnel serving overseas would be one of the biggest casualties of stricter absentee vote-counting.

Several states don’t finish counting troopsabsentee ballots until a week after Election Day, as it typically takes longer for mail to be delivered from overseas.

For instance, if a soldier in Afghanistan mails off their absentee ballot on the Sunday before the election, it is highly unlikely it will arrive at their polling place in the US until after Election Day.

Republicans are bringing federal court cases against states and counties to toss ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that arrive days later.

“Unfortunately, it seems the Republicans have… given up on the idea of persuading voters and [are] instead turning to the idea of suppressing voters,” former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

“I don't know what Donald Trump has against soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are returning absentee ballots from abroad, but it is going to be a stain on that campaign forever, that they thought part of their strategy to win was to make it harder for American citizens — including patriots serving overseas — to have their voices heard,” said Mr Buttigieg, the former Democratic presidential candidate who is in line for a position in Mr Biden’s Cabinet if the Democratic nominee wins the 2020 election.

Republicans in Harris County, Texas, have petitioned to throw out more than 125,000 drive-thru ballots that have already been cast there, arguing that drive-thru voting violates Texas election laws. 

A similar lawsuit was already dismissed by the Texas Supreme Court, but US District Court Judge Andrew Hanen is hearing the case at the federal level on Monday.

In Pennsylvania, the GOP has challenged the state’s three-day extension for counting mail-in votes postmarked by Election Day. The US Supreme Court denied that petition, but Republicans have persisted.

The Keystone State’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, assailed the GOP’s motives for trying to scrap mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day.

“There's a lot of noise out there. Pennsylvania has always taken a week… to count military ballots. I'm not sure what the Supreme Court is going to say about that. If they say we have to have all the ballots that came in by the night of the election, then that's going to disenfranchise all those folks that are serving us overseas and have military absentee ballots. And I don't see how you can do that,” Mr Wolf said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Pending the decision of another GOP Supreme Court challenge about mail-in ballots that arrive after the Election Day, Pennsylvania has been forced to separate those ballots from the rest of the count.

“We are segregating them. The Supreme Court has given Pennsylvania three days to allow ballots to come in after Election Day. But the message to Pennsylvanians is if you're voting by mail, if you're voting with an absentee ballot, get it in by the election,” Mr Wolf said.

Mr Tapper added his own piece of advice: “Yeah, hand deliver it to an election centre. don't mail it,” the CNN host said.

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