Karl Rove on “What Could Go Wrong on Election Day”

This WSJ piece makes several important points about the absentee voting process. In particular, Rove strongly endorses a crucial policy change that should be made now, particularly in six battleground states: permit election officials to start the processing of verifying absentee ballots before Election Day. This might sound like a small, in-the-weeds detail, but making this policy change — particularly in WI, MI, and PA — could be critical to avoiding the worst-case scenarios this fall.

Election officials in most of these states have been urging their legislatures to make this change. But in several of these states, it is Republican-controlled legislatures that have been resisting. That’s what makes Rove’s piece especially significant. Many of us have been urging this change for months, but if significant Republican voices back this change, perhaps that will move the ball forward in these critical states. Bipartisan support for this change is good to see. I hope Rove’s piece (@KarlRove) gets circulated widely in these key states (he has one sentence on the fraud issue, from which I feel obligated to note my dissent).

Here is the most important excerpt:

The bigger issue is when states are allowed to start matching signatures on the ballots to those on voter rolls and verifying that each ballot is valid. This is time-consuming and difficult. Seven states in contention let authorities begin verification early: Georgia, Minnesota and Nevada on a ballot’s receipt, Florida starting 22 days before the election, Arizona 14 days ahead, and North Carolina and Ohio on the discretion of local election boards.

Six battleground states don’t allow verification to begin until the day before Election Day (Iowa) or on Election Day itself (Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). Real problems will emerge here, especially when there’s a big increase in mail-in ballots over 2016.

Take Pennsylvania. In the 2016 primaries, 84,000 people voted by mail; this year 1.5 million did so—and that’s without a strongly contested Republican primary. Pennsylvania’s secretary of state wants the Legislature to allow ballot verification to begin earlier. That would be wise.


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