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The Count #12: Trump Supporters’ Bad Faith Attack On Mail-In Voting

The Count is a daily newsletter and live show from The Appeal and NowThis, focused on what happens in the scenario that the 2020 presidential race is too close to call on election night, if President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to not accept the election results, and what we can do in the 77 days between election day and the inauguration to uphold our democracy.


Today, we’ll look at:

  • New polling shows Republicans are rejecting Trump’s lies about mail-in voting.
  • How Trump supporters are trying to undermine mail-in ballots, and failing.
  • The creative ways Americans are trying to make voter suppression more bearable.

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THE DAILY COUNTDOWN.

  • 8 days until election day.
  • 43 days until the deadline for all ballots to be counted.
  • 49 days until electoral college slates send their votes to Congress.
  • 72 days until Congress counts electoral college votes.
  • 86 days until inauguration day.

NEW POLL: REPUBLICANS REJECT ANOTHER TRUMP VOTING MYTH

Research shows that votes counted after election day tend to lean Democratic. This will only be accentuated more this year: By Friday, Democrats had returned 10 million mail-in ballots, more than twice Republicans’ 4.6 million.

Trump and allies like Steve Bannon have tried to cast this trend as voter fraud, but even their own voters aren’t buying it.

New polling from Data for Progress and The Justice Collaborative Institute shows voters believe in these patterns.

  • 67% of voters, including 62% of Republicans, find it believable that due to Democrats disproportionately casting early ballots and voting by mail, the results after Nov. 3 will lean more Democratic.
KEY TAKEAWAY — Most voters understand that a “blue shift” is likely and aren’t buying Trump’s false “blue steal” branding. The Count guest Jason Ganz, who is Chief of Staff at Data For Progress explains:

 


TRUMP’S VOTER FRAUD FRAUD

Trump and his allies have laid the groundwork for claiming that widespread voter fraud cost him the election, should he in fact lose. But the facts just aren’t there:
  • After losing the popular vote in the 2016 election, Trump said this was because of “millions of people who voted illegally.” He set up a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud.
  • The Trump campaign and RNC have tried to ban states from expanding voter access this election cycle because, they claim, it opens the door to voter fraud. Federal court judges in several states have rejected these claims, with one judge calling them “theoretical” and “speculative.”
  • Republicans often point to a list compiled by one conservative think tank that claims to contain 1,298 instances of “voter fraud.” An analysis found it “does not include a single example of a concerted effort to use absentee ballot fraud to steal a major election, much less a presidential election.”
  • The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice found most cases of reported voter fraud–which it estimates are between 0.00004% and 0.0009%–were usually due to “clerical errors or bad data matching practices,” not fraud.
  • The Washington Post found just 31 credible claims from 1 billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014.
  • A month after the 2016 election, there were only four reported cases of voter fraud.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump and his allies continue to tell supporters that Democrats will take advantage of widespread mail-in voting this year to commit voter fraud.

“He has on a couple of occasions encouraged his own supporters to cast multiple ballots in this election. What’s troubling is that some of his followers are actually taking this advice to heart and actually committing a crime and actually getting arrested and actually facing jail time because of something the president told them to do.” –The Count co-host Emily Galvin-Almanza

  • A Trump supporter in Pennsylvania was arrested last week after he allegedly requested a mail-in ballot for his deceased mother. The county said this is its first alleged case of voter fraud in three decades.
  • A Trump supporter in Florida was arrested after allegedly requesting a mail-in ballot for his late wife. The man said he wanted to test Florida’s voting system.

These cases show how well the system actually works, not only catching the small fraction of alleged voter fraud cases, but doing so before mail-in ballots are even sent out.


BEATING BACK THE LINES

Some good news to start off your week: By last Friday, nearly 51 million ballots had been cast. In Texas, early voting has hit more than 70% of the state’s total 2016 turnout. Estimates are that voter turnout is on pace to hit 154 million people.

This has of course meant hours-long lines for many voters across the country. These long lines are a symptom of voter suppression that we don’t want to normalize, but we do want to celebrate how Americans are showing up to support another while they wait.

Last week, the nonprofit Pizza to the Polls thanked Ariana Grande for supplying pizza to hundreds of voters in Florida.

So far this year, the organization has sent 3,857 pizzas to more than 300 polling places with more than $340,000 in donations (you can see all their deliveries here). They’re also mobilizing 180 food trucks in 25 cities for early voting and election day.

 


FEEDING VOTERS IS A GROWING WAY TO COMBAT VOTER SUPPRESSION:

  • Chefs for the Polls works with local restaurants in 23 cities to provide meals to hungry voters, and have been giving out hundreds of meals at a time.
  • Fuel the Vote has been working with restaurants to provide food and water at Philadelphia’s satellite election offices. Fuel the Polls is also an effort from Philadelphia restaurants to feed poll workers on Nov. 3.
  • Rock the Line is seeing musicians, circus performers, comedians, dancers, drumlines, and even unicyclists perform for voting lines in Philadelphia today and tomorrow as well as on Election Day.
  • Savannahvote.org has set up an Amazon list for people to support their efforts to provide snacks, water, PPE, and phone charges to voters in Savannah, Georgia, come election day.
  • Georgia 55 Project aims to make voting in Atlanta “easy, fun, and delicious.” Having partnered with 15 restaurants the group hands out coffee, water, baked goods, sandwiches, soup, and even barbecue. (They also have an Amazon list that includes hand warmers and crayons for kids.)
  • Feed the Polls is also planning for election day when it intends to give out 50,000 healthy meals to voters in line across the country.

In addition to keeping voters fed and entertained, these initiatives are a crucial way to make sure “people have joy” when they go to vote, something Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the Working Families Party and recent guest on The Count, reminded us is so important.


WHAT WE ARE TRACKING

  • Yet another federal judge threw out a Trump campaign case because claims of voter fraud were “speculative.” New Jersey election officials prevailed, and will be able to count ballots beginning 10 days prior to election day and accept ballots up to 2 days after.
  • Pennsylvania cannot reject mail-in ballots because of a signature comparison by election officials, the state Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
  • Black voters in North Carolina are having their mail-in ballots rejected four times more often than white voters. Hispanic voters in Florida are having their mail-in ballots rejected at more than two-and-a-half times the rate of white voters.
  • 43 out of 50 states had accessibility issues with their mail-in ballot applications. Only seven states have since updated their applications.
  • Politico has produced a moment-by-moment guide of everything that could go wrong after the polls close on Nov. 3. Read it if you dare.

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