Friday, August 14, 2020

American Democracy in Action?

Every other democracy endeavours to increase voter participation by making the process easier. All except Trump's United States of America, that is. We have witnessed many Republican states close polling stations and impose rules that exclude and discourage many voters. Efforts to widen the number of electors are being accused of permitting fraud.

Trump has now admitted  he opposed additional funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS) in order to make it more difficult to deliver mail-in ballots.

Critics say the president is deliberately trying to hamstring the USPS in advance of the November elections to help his re-election bid. Due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic election officials are expecting  an unprecedented level of mail-in  voting. Kentucky, the state’s top election official said this week he did not support expanding mail-in voting for the November election because the state did not have the capacity to do so.

Congress has allocated just $400m to help states run elections, a small fraction of the $4bn the Brennan Center for Justice estimates is needed this year. 

Louis DeJoy, the new postmaster general and a major Republican donor, is making cuts at the agency to intentionally slow down the mail. There are reports of severe mail delays in places across the country. A slower mail service could have a big impact because many states require a ballot to arrive at an election office by election day, regardless of when it was put in the mail, in order to be counted. At least 65,000 ballots were rejected during the 2020 primaries because they arrived too late.

Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, dismissed efforts to make it easier to vote in negotiations over stimulus money.

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