Republican officials in three battleground states are attempting to disqualify thousands of mail-in ballots ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections — with states tossing out ballots due to technicalities, like incomplete dates on envelopes or only partially filled-out witness addresses.
The Washington Post reports on three states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — where Republicans already have or are attempting to toss out mail-in ballots for various reasons. Those states have tight elections that could come down to a handful of votes.
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court sided with the Republican National Committee, determining that ballots on which a voter neglected to put a date on the outer envelope will be tossed out, even if the ballot arrived ahead of Election Day.
There’s a similar situation in Wisconsin, where a judge sided with Republicans in a court ruling that orders officials not to count ballots that don’t have a complete witness address filled out.
In Michigan, the Republican nominee for secretary of state has sued to halt the count of tens of thousands of absentee ballots in Detroit, a largely Democratic and majority-Black city. Critics say the suit, which could affect tens of thousands of ballots, seeks to disenfranchise Black voters, as many question why the Trump-endorsed candidate has only aimed the suit at Detroit, and not any other Michigan cities.
The results of the elections taking place on Tuesday will determine which political party controls the Senate — and who shapes policies surrounding reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ expression, education and economy at the local, state and federal levels.
Republicans have for years argued that voter laws need to be strengthened in order to protect against voter fraud — even as courts and audits across the country have shown no overwhelming evidence that voter fraud has been significant enough to change the outcome of any recent elections.
Critics of attempts to strengthen voter ID laws and limit absentee ballots argue that they have just one goal: to get rid of as many Democratic ballots as possible.
As former President Donald Trump and many of his allies have argued that voting-by-mail poses a threat to Republicans, GOP officials have pushed to restrict mail-in votes, passing laws throughout the country that require specific forms of ID or limit the window in which absentee ballots can be requested or cast.
Vice President Kamala Harris is among the chorus of voices to push back against Republican-backed laws that she said will restrict access to voting, particularly among those in rural or lower-income communities.
In 2020, Harris penned an op-ed in which she wrote that Republicans are “doing everything in their power to suppress and attack the voting rights of people of color.”
“[Republicans] are spreading misinformation about voting by mail — a safe and secure voting option — and they have been caught trying to politicize the U.S. Postal Service,” Harris wrote at the time. “Meanwhile, [Trump] himself has already requested a mail-in ballot this year and encouraged his supporters to do the same in places where he needs a political advantage to win. This double standard is not right and cannot stand.”
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Democrats earlier attempted to pass a sweeping federal measure to protect voting rights though it failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate in a procedural vote.
That measure, known as the For the People Act, would help create a nationwide automatic voter registration system, expand mail-in voting, restore voting rights to people with a past felony and protect against state’s individual attempts to create restrictive new laws surrounding voter identification.
Check your voter registration, locate your polling place, and make a voting plan at Vote.org to ensure that your voice is heard this election season.