Rep. Davis: Mail-In Voting May Disenfranchise Millions of Minorities, Young People

September 8, 2020 Updated: September 8, 2020

Millions of young and minority voters are at risk of their votes not being counted in November due to mail-in voting problems and too few polling places, according to Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).

“Democrats want to stick their heads in the sand and not address this issue,” Davis told The Epoch Times on Sept. 8. “This issue more disproportionately affects younger voters and voters who are persons of color than anyone else.”

Davis pointed to hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots that were disqualified during primary elections earlier this year in California, New York, and Wisconsin.

“These voters are the ones that were most likely to be disenfranchised in these areas where the mail-in ballots were disqualified because they didn’t meet a plethora of election laws that exist in those states,” Davis said.

Davis’s comments echoed concerns he expressed during an Aug. 29 hearing of the Committee on House Administration, of which he is the ranking minority member. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is chairwoman of the committee, which is responsible for overseeing federal election laws.

“A recent analysis by NPR found that nearly half a million mail-in ballots were rejected in 2020 primaries. The same analysis noted, ‘Studies also show that voters of color and young voters are more likely than others to have their ballots not count,’” Davis said in his opening statement at the hearing.

“In California alone, 102,000 ballots were rejected, 84,000 in New York, 23,000 in Wisconsin—these are Democrat states. In the last four elections, more than 28 million mail-in ballots went missing, according to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

“Yet Democrats on this committee, in this House, and across the country continue to push implementing universal vote-by-mail before the November election just over 60 days away.”

Davis also pointed to widespread closings of polling places, which resulted in long lines, forcing many voters to wait hours in line before casting ballots. The polling places are being closed due to worries about spreading the CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.

“Washington, D.C., closed more than 120 polling places. In Atlanta, voters waited upwards of five hours to vote because of consolidated polling locations. Milwaukee went from 180 to five polling places,” he said.

“In Philadelphia, 77 percent of polling locations were closed. In Houston, voters reported waiting close to six hours to vote. All of these areas are run by Democrats.”

The hearing—titled “Voting Safely in a Pandemic”—was called by the panel’s Democrats to tout a provision of the House-approved $3 trillion HEROES Act, which requires nationwide mail-in voting in the event of an emergency, specifically including the CCP virus.

There was some confusion during the hearing regarding the provision, however, as Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who chairs the panel’s Subcommittee on Elections, claimed the HEROES Act “does not require, does not request, universal vote by mail … what it does is it gives people options, so they can be safe when they decide to go out and vote.”

But Davis responded that the HEROES provision “requires, in the case of an emergency or disaster, including COVID-19, state or local election officials to transmit absentee ballots and balloting materials by mail with a self-sealing envelope and prepaid return postage to every registered voter at least two weeks before the election.”

Dirty Voting Rolls

The Illinois Republican also blasted a video supporting mail-in voting that was produced by the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (DASS).

The DASS video “compares Republicans to white supremacists with imagery of Nazi symbols, support of segregation, and insinuates anyone who has concerns with vote-by-mail of trying to suppress minority votes,” he said.

One of the committee hearing’s witnesses was California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the chairman of DASS. Padilla told the hearing that “California voters will not have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their health” because “vote-by-mail has grown from 25 percent of ballots cast 20 years to 72 percent in this year’s primaries.”

California officials are expanding mail-in voting despite disqualifying more than 102,000 votes cast in this year’s primaries as a result of being submitted late or other mistakes.

Associated Press political reporter Michael Blood’s investigation exposed the disqualified ballots and “showed that mail-in voting can be fraught with problems at a time when the Pandemic is driving many states to gear up for near-universal vote-by-mail in November and as President Donald Trump casts doubt on the system’s validity.”

California officials in 2018 settled a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch by agreeing to clean up the voter rolls to ensure dead voters are removed, duplicate names are eliminated, and accurate addresses are available.

But Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told The Epoch Times that California could still have up to 1.6 million inactive voter names just in Los Angeles County.

“California, up until our settlement, had not cleaned up its voter rolls in 20 years,” Fitton said, “so there is this inordinate number of inactive voters on the rolls.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom had planned to send ballots to all active and inactive voters on the state’s rolls, but that plan had to be shelved as a result of the challenge by Judicial Watch, Fitton said.

“When you are mailing millions of ballots to people who haven’t asked for them, you are creating a perfect storm of voting fraud opportunities,” he said.

When Davis asked Padilla during the Aug. 29 hearing how many inactive voter names have been removed from the Los Angeles County rolls to date, the California official said he didn’t know.

Fitton’s organization has also filed suits that resulted in officials in Kentucky in 2014 and Ohio in 2019 agreeing to clean up their state voter rolls. But the problem of “dirty voter rolls” remains a serious one across the nation, Fitton said.

“The problems are nationwide. The voter rolls are generally a mess,” he said.

Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc