One of the concerns, as the nation sits in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is how to safely conduct elections while still practicing social distancing.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama has a remedy for that: more access to mail-in absentee voting. However, Fox prime time host Tucker Carlson views this method as a literal threat to democracy, and said so on the Tuesday night edition of his program, Tucker Carlson Tonight.
The former First Lady now co-chairs an organization called “When We All Vote,” and Carlson had this to say about the idea of nationwide mail-in ballots:
“Former first lady Michelle Obama is using this crisis to promote the radical expansion of nationwide voting by mail. Citizens could request ballots online and then print them at home. Now, no serious person at the national level has ever suggested doing that before, because of course, it would instantly destroy the public’s faith in election outcomes, and hence, our democracy. But if there was ever a time to sneak something this disruptive past a beleaguered and distracted population, this is it.”
“When We All Vote” is a non-partisan organization, and it would appear that a statement they released recently regarding the crisis of voting during the COVID-19 pandemic is what drew Carlson’s ire. The statement reads, in part:
“Americans should never have to choose between making their voices heard and keeping themselves and their families safe. We know that barriers to voting existed before this crisis, especially for young people and communities of color. Expanding access to vote-by-mail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment— and they’re long overdue. There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life.”
It would seem that those are the words of Michelle Obama herself. America is notorious for long lines while voting, and in-person voting would make social distancing and remaining safe a very real challenge.
There is even a bill in the works, sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), called the Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020, that would expand access to no-excuse absentee voting for 20 days prior to the election. It would also “guarantee that all voter registration applications submitted by mail or online, up until and 21 days prior to Election Day, are deemed valid.”
Republican National Committee Chair Woman Ronna McDaniel disagreed with this in an editorial and Marian Schneider of Verified Voting, another non-partisan organization, responded thusly:
“We are in the midst of a public health crisis, and we have to look at how we’re going to deliver the election in a way that keeps voters and poll workers alike safe. And I do think vote-by-mail has a role to play, but Verified Voting is, of course, focused on election security. That’s our mission, and we have some top-line recommendations for states that are ramping up vote by mail that would address security concerns.”
Watch Carlson’s remarks below:
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.