House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that voters should submit their ballots in-person and not by mail in an apparent reversal of the Democrats' vote-by-mail initiative.
"I hope that people will not depend on the mail because they have done all they can to dismantle the postal system," Pelosi told a news conference Thursday, without elaborating. "I salute our postal workers and letter carriers and those who are making the best of the situation, but even the Postal Service is saying it's too late now to mail a first-class piece of mail."
Mail-in balloting could be an issue for some states that have never used the process, and earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service warned that voters should return their mail-in ballots as soon as possible. They said that waiting until days before the Nov. 3 election to mail in their ballots might lead to the ballots being excluded.
“Even the Postal Service is saying it’s too late now to mail a first-class piece of mail, to take more than five or six days to reach its destination, it just speaks for itself,” Pelosi remarked.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has frequently highlighted the perils of voting by mail, urging his supporters to go to the polls to cast their ballots. He said voter fraud and uncounted ballots could pose a serious issue, while noting that the 2020 election will have an unprecedented number of mail-in votes that could possibly put a burden on the system.
Registered Democratic voters are more likely to vote via absentee ballots, as evidenced by previous elections, while GOP voters are more likely to go to the polls.
Pelosi's counterpart in the House, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), called on legacy media outlets to not call next week's election until all polling stations are closed around the country.
“It is estimated that voter turnout for the election on Nov. 3, 2020, will be the highest on record. It is clear that Americans are taking their civic responsibility seriously. The media also has recognized its responsibility by educating voters on the date and process of the election. That responsibility extends through Election Day in its entirety,” he said in his letter to the heads of NBC, CBS, CNN, CBS, and Fox.
“Patience must take precedence over prognostication. Therefore, I am requesting that every network and media organization refrain from declaring a winner until every polling center has closed. Election Day is a celebration for our representative democracy, we must ensure that every American is encouraged to participate,” McCarthy said.