Romney Pushes Back On Trump Effort To Suppress Mail Voting: ‘We Want People To Vote’

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 17: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, conducts a news conference in Russell Building on student athlete compensation on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. NCAA president Mark Emmert and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also attended. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 17: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, conducts a news conference in Russell Building on student athlete compensation on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. NCAA president Mark Emmert and Sen. Chris Murphy, D... UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 17: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, conducts a news conference in Russell Building on student athlete compensation on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. NCAA president Mark Emmert and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also attended. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 15, 2020 10:20 a.m.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said Friday that he sees mail voting as “more secure” than in-person electronic voting, challenging President Donald Trump’s months-long attack on mail voting as fraudulent to boost his chances of re-election. 

“I don’t know of any evidence that voting by mail would increase voter fraud,” Romney told the conservative Utah-based Sutherland Institute during a videoconference Friday, adding when asked about the potential for fraud that his biggest concern was hacking of electronic voting machines and tabulation systems — not mailed ballots.

“In the case of voting by mail, the good news is that if there were some allegation of impropriety, you would be able to get the physical ballots,” Romney said.

Some states have used Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Systems for in-person voting that employ computers to record votes directly – sometimes without a paper trail.

The Republican lawmaker, who has often been a critic of President Trump said that he supported “providing additional funds to states that don’t have as effective voting systems as we do here in Utah, voting by mail.” 

The comments come as Trump has indicated in news conferences and interviews that he is trying to cripple the expansion of mail voting by blocking much-needed additional funding to the US Postal Service. 

Romney urged that effort be made to ensure that voters are able to cast ballots in November, calling it “essential” for the United States — a leader of Democratic nations — to show that elections can be held in a free and fair manner.

“We want people to vote,” Romney said.

Trump’s attack on the USPS to bolster his own dwindling chances amid unfavorable poll numbers, intensified early Saturday when he suggested in a tactical tweet early Saturday that “The Democrats know the 2020 Election will be a fraudulent mess. Will maybe never know who won!”

Late last month general counsel for the Postal Service Thomas Marshall warned in letters to election officials in Pennsylvania and other electoral battleground states like Michigan and Florida that “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.”

Marshall’s letter urged states to push up deadlines for requesting ballots to at least 15 days before an election, a move that would leave voters much less time than the four days required under some state laws to request a ballot.

The USPS’ internal investigator also announced Friday that it would initiate a probe into controversial policy changes affecting mail delivery by Trump ally, postmaster general Louis DeJoy, a former Republican mega-donor.

“We should make every effort to assure that people who want to vote get the chance to vote and that’s even more important than the outcome of the vote,” Romney said. “We have got to preserve the principle of democracy or the trend we’re on is going to continue to get worse.” 

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