Coronavirus: Hillary Clinton wants voting by mail be to made 'the norm' as outbreak threatens elections

Coronavirus: Hillary Clinton wants voting by mail be to made 'the norm' as outbreak threatens elections
(Getty Images)

Considering public health concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, former Hillary Clinton called on the Congress to “make voting by mail the norm” with “free postage".

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he expected the ongoing crisis to last through at least July or August. Meanwhile, the White House is yet to reveal if there are any fallback arrangements in place for the November presidential election.

“Congress needs to act to make voting by mail the norm going forward, with the specifics outlined by election expert Marc Elias below to make it accessible for all," the former first lady tweeted on Wednesday.

Clinton's call to normalize voting by mail echoes a similar demand by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), who has also urged legislators to allow all-mail voting in 2020, according to Breitbart's editor-at-large Joel Pollak.

A voter fills out a ballot at the Minneapolis Early Vote Center on January 17, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Getty Images)

Pollak says Republicans are skeptical of such an arrangement, especially after Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming chief of staff, said this in 2008: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

"Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before," Emanuel told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives of the economic crisis at the time.

Republicans have warned that although several states already allow voting by mail, California’s voting ecosystem is vulnerable to fraud.

The concerns stem from a system called "ballot harvesting" that has been legalized by the Democrat-controlled state. It allows unverified third parties to deliver each other's ballots, thereby making it easy for party organizers to bring thousands of ballots to be counted in a short period of time and less effort, albeit risking fraud.

A voter fraud sign is seen at Lupica Towers on November 4, 2008, in Cleveland, Ohio (Getty Images)

During the 2018 mid-term elections, Republicans blamed some unanticipated losses in California to "ballot harvesting". Meanwhile, Republicans have failed to replicate Democrats' tactics as they are generally reluctant of trusting their ballots in the hands of others.

Clinton understands the value of voting by mail.

During the 2016 presidential primary, she was reportedly running neck-and-neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in California. But she ended up winning by several points majorly because she had a stronger turnout in mail-in ballots, Pollak notes.

What's more? Mail-in ballots also helped the former Secretary of State during the 2016 general election, pumping up her popular vote margins against Trump. Nevertheless, she ultimately lost the electoral college vote to the former reality TV mogul.

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