Democrats are pulling out all of the stops before November’s crucial election.
And, in what might be one of the most shocking rulings in a while, the U.S. Supreme Court just sided with Democrats.
The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency request from the Republican National Committee and left in place an agreement that allows Rhode Island residents to vote by mail through November’s general election without getting signatures from two witnesses or a notary.
State officials had agreed to suspend the witness requirement because of the coronavirus pandemic. They have said that fulfilling the requirement, which has been in place since at least 1978, results in close contact between voters and others, which could expose people to the virus.
The high court rejected an effort by the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Rhode Island to put the agreement on hold, noting that “no state official has expressed opposition.”
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the Republicans’ request.
Rhode Island allows voters to request to vote by mail for any reason, and the coronavirus has resulted in an enormous increase in mail-in voting. Nationwide, a surge in voting by mail is expected for the November general election because of the pandemic, and money to help the Postal Service process the anticipated increase has been a sticking point in talks for a virus relief package. President Donald Trump said Thursday he opposes additional funding.
Rhode Island is one of approximately a dozen states that require mail-in ballot envelopes to be signed by one or more witnesses or a notary. Republicans in Rhode Island argued that witness requirements deter voter fraud, though elections experts say voter fraud is rare. And they said the state is already allowing 20 days of early voting that will reduce the number of people who go to the polls on Election Day and has put in place other protections for voters and poll workers.
The RNC asked the Supreme Court to make an emergency ruling over these “relaxed” signature and witness requirements for mail-in voting.
Republican leaders believe that Democrats are purposely trying to make mail-in voting harder for rural Americans and want the Supreme Court to intervene.
Republicans asserted that the requirement for a notary discriminates against people who live in the country because they won’t have access to as many notorious before election time.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel says that Democrats are purposely trying to create problems ahead of the November election, and is asking the Supreme Court to help Americans stick with the systems that have worked in the past.
“This is all coming from the Democrats. The president is saying, ‘Keep the systems in place that have worked,’” McDaniel said.
National mail-in voting could be a disaster, according to at least one expert.
Government Accountability Insititute research director Eric Eggers says the Democrats’ plan for nationwide mail-in voting would send ballots to 24 million inaccurate and flawed voter registrations.
Eggers said nationwide mail-in voting would be wide open to fraud and abuse.
Eggers said mail-in voting also ensures voters associated with those flawed voter registrations would get the chance to vote in the 2020 presidential election.