White House Adviser Steve Cortes took a new stance on mail-in voting on Sunday, saying that it was not feasible for the process to be established in time for the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump has repeatedly impugned mail-in voting for its safety, drawing backlash from election experts. In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Cortes said that the real problem was time and logistics.
"There's no amount of money that could get the Postal Service ready for universal vote-by-mail," Cortes claimed on Sunday. As evidence, he pointed primarily to the U.S. Postal Service's annual losses in recent years, as the service has not been profitable for some time. He also argued that the USPS has outdated systems, unreliable delivery addresses, and other problems. He did not answer to the repeated calls for the USPS to be funded and managed differently, which have persisted for decades now.
I don’t get it. This argument that every person gets a ballot in the mail is somehow helpful to Democrats? Won’t Republicans get ballots as well? Seems #SteveCortes ,#Trump and all #Republicans are afraid of more people voting. @FoxNewsSunday pic.twitter.com/qabd6I1rYc— Bernie Connor (@BernieConnor9) August 16, 2020
Cortes is a member of the Trump administration's Hispanic Advisory Council. He said that there was no amount of money the White House could provide for the USPS at this point that would make mail-in voting possible. The service has been getting slashed since June when Trump appointed campaign donor Louis DeJoy as the new Postmaster General. Under DeJoy's direction, the USPS reduced post office hours, removed mail collection boxes from the streets and decommissioned mail-sorting machines.
While many critics have called these measures intentional voter suppression, Trump said on Saturday evening that he doesn't know exactly what DeJoy is doing, but that he supports him nonetheless. He reiterated his opposition to mail-in voting, despite mounting evidence of its safety.
In an op-ed for Market Watch, political scientist Edie Goldenberg wrote that mail-in voting is "fair, safe and honest." Goldenberg wrote: "The evidence we reviewed finds that voting by mail is rarely subject to fraud, does not give an advantage to one political party over another and can in fact inspire public confidence in the voting process if done properly."
Voting by mail has been used for years to accommodate absentee voters, military personnel and other Americans who cannot make it to the polls. Considering the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, many see it as the best solution for the 2020 presidential election. Many even suggest that the process would result in a greater voter turnout, as Americans who are normally too busy or unable to travel to the polls would be able to get a ballot in on their own schedule.
This could be why the opposition to mail-in voting reportedly comes mostly from Republicans. Trump won the 2016 election through the electoral college but lost the popular vote — the sheer number of American ballots — by over two percent. If mail-in voting prompted more people to vote, it could close that gap and leave the president out of office.