Washington: Expressing confidence that the US general election in November won’t be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has vehemently opposed the idea of mail-in voting and instead, strongly advocated the concept of Voter ID, which he referred to as “the real deal”.
Trump’s remarks came at a time of when there is an intense debate going on in the US about whether the country should prepare to conduct mail-in-voting as a backstop, in the event the coronavirus outbreak keeps people from going to the polls.
“I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” Trump said at Friday’s coronavirus task force meeting from the White House. “I think people should vote with Voter ID. I think Voter ID is very important, and the reason they don’t want Voter ID is because they tend to cheat.”
In several countries, including India, Argentina, Australia and Brazil, Voter ID is a part of the election process where the government issues photo ID cards for the identification of voters.
In the US, it varies from state to state. Some states use voter ID, while many have vetoed it.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Friday became the latest state governor to veto a Voter ID bill.
Trump said people should show up to the polls in person and cast their votes after presenting the proper identification.
“You should have a picture for voting…It should be called Voter ID, they should have that. And it shouldn’t mail-in voting, it should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself,” the president said.
“You don’t send it in the mail, where people pick up all sorts of bad things can happen, by the time they signed that, if they signed that, if they signed that, by the time it gets in and is tabulated, no. It shouldn’t be mailed in, you should vote at the booth, and you should have Voter ID. Because when you have Voter ID, that’s the real deal,” he added.
The US presidential election is scheduled for November 3 and the primaries are underway.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the primaries have been postponed in several states and many are pushing for a mail-in-voting, a provision which has gained momentum in the US in the last one decade. Under this, an electorate votes by email much before the actual day of voting.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has called for a special session of the State Assembly to postpone the primary and allow for an all-mail election, in which every eligible voter would be asked to vote by a new deadline of May 26.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has called for universal vote-by-mail on March 18, one day after the state’s presidential primary.
According to The Washington Post, most states that don’t conduct mail-only elections are unlikely to put those systems in place over the next few months, something that would require millions of dollars and emergency legislation. But there is plenty of room and time to make absentee voting easier.
“New Hampshire, for example, is one of the 17 states that requires some kind of excuse for requesting an absentee ballot. Some states, like Wisconsin, have only now stepped up to inform voters that they can vote by mail, a process that has seen absentee requests quadruple over four years ago,” the daily reported. (PTI)
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