Former Clinton Campaign Attorney Marc Elias: U.S. Needs Vote-by-Mail, Ballot Harvesting, ‘Vote-Anywhere’ Rules

Former Clinton Campaign Attorney Marc Elias: U.S. Needs Vote-by ...


Marc Elias, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign attorney, is hoping to use the coronavirus pandemic to push major changes to the way Americans vote in U.S. elections, proposing mail-in voting, ballot harvesting, “vote-anywhere” rules, and curbside voting.
Elias, the 2016 Clinton campaign attorney and “election expert” who, through his law firm Perkins Coie, “retained Fusion GPS to conduct the firm’s anti-Trump work on behalf of both Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the DNC,” has, in many ways, spearheaded the progressive push for changes to U.S. voting methods. Attempting to use the coronavirus pandemic as a catalyst, Elias over the weekend outlined a list of changes he believes the U.S. needs to make to “fix” voting rules ahead of November’s elections:
“The uncertainties caused by COVID-19 have led a number of states to examine and adjust the rules for the November elections. Thus far, most of the planning has focused on how states will handle the predicted demand for voting by mail,” Elias wrote in a piece for The Atlantic.
“There is no question that voting by mail is an important part of the solution. It mitigates the problems of long lines and fosters social distancing. But the specific rules used to implement vote by mail may determine whose vote is counted and whose is not,” he continued, listing four mail-in voting “safeguards,” including free or prepaid postage and the ability of “community organizations” to “help collect and deliver voted, sealed ballots.”
A lack of community organizations “assisting” with the collection and delivery of ballots, he argued, effectively serves as a “disadvantage” to minority voters.
Mail-in, however, is not his only solution. He believes in-person voting should still be available, albeit with a series of additions.
“Some voters—and in particular many minority voters—strongly prefer voting in person, either because of historical mistrust in the vote-by-mail system or because of the expressive nature of showing up at the polls,” he said.
Elias said states should “guarantee” adequate staffing at polling locations by offering course credit and pay to high school and college students, as well as provide government employees with overtime pay for working Election Day. He also believes curbside voting — where the voter remains in his or her vehicle throughout the entire voting process — should be extended to voters of all ages. Additionally, Elias called for weekend voting, the addition of “vote-anywhere rules,” and voting reservations:
Voters who show up at the wrong polling location should be allowed to vote a ballot for those offices for which they are eligible. Some states currently allow this, but others force these voters to cast a provisional ballot that, more often than not, doesn’t count.
Finally, states should develop systems that allow voters to sign up to reserve a time to vote during off-peak hours. Such a system would reduce lines by incentivizing voters to show up during non-peak times.
“The goal should be to avoid letting the rules dictate who wins based on whose voters can participate,” he said. “Only by taking these steps can we be assured that the rules of the election won’t unfairly tilt the playing field.”
Clinton, who has recently called for voting by mail to be the “norm going forward,” has emphatically touted Elias’s proposals.
“States must take concrete steps now to make sure every citizen can be heard in November, no matter where we are by then in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said on Sunday:
Elias is among those on the left who has sought voting rule changes in the courts rather than taking the proposals to the electorate, as voters, more often than not, support basic checks and balances on elections, including the highly contested existence of voter ID laws.
“He [Elias] was very strategic about it, very intentional abut seeding cases where he knew he was going to need to some ebb and flow,” True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht told Breitbart News last week.
“And now he is all over the airwaves talking about the coming mail-in ballot for November and the advent of voter harvesting and how that will work broadly,” she continued.
Engelbrecht added that Elias is effectively feeding the narrative to “hundreds of other groups that then take that and continue to push it.”
Certainly, Democrat leadership is eagerly driving the narrative as well. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in her failed attempt to hijack the Stage 3 bill emergency coronavirus relief bill, attempted to issue a variety of voting changes, including mail-in voting and ballot harvesting. She has since sent mixed signals on the next stage of relief, affirming support for a bipartisan bill “very much like the bill we just passed” but later declaring vote-by-mail “essential to protecting the future of our democracy as we confront this public health crisis.”


GOP Gears Up for Next Relief Fight: Democrats ‘Want the Federal Government to Take Over Elections’
House Democrats have passed hundreds of bills. Trump and ...

The GOP is gearing up for what could be a contentious battle over the next stage of coronavirus relief, as Democrats continue to signal their desire to pursue a variety of changes related to the U.S. election.
Republicans and Democrats are expected to begin the process of crafting the next stage of economic relief after successfully passing a bipartisan measure to provide relief to small businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic last month. The measure ultimately passed unanimously in the Senate, but it initially did not go without opposition, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attempted to offer her own version of relief filled with a variety of liberal “wish list” items, including major changes to voting methods. While the speaker has signaled support for a bipartisan measure in the same mold as the last, she hinted last week that she is still going to pursue changes to voting methods.
“Vote-by-mail is essential to protecting the future of our democracy as we confront this public health crisis. There is no legitimate argument against enacting it,” Pelosi said last week:
Vote-by-mail is essential to protecting the future of our democracy as we confront this public health crisis. There is no legitimate argument against enacting it.


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The GOP and Trump administration are gearing up for battle, condemning the left for attempting to use the coronavirus pandemic to push their greater political agendas related to voting methods in U.S. elections.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is leading the Democrat effort, pushing a bill to provide vote-by-mail and expand early voting. She claims Democrats are getting “more and more bipartisan support from secretaries of states across the country,” according to Politico.
“In a worst case scenario communities may be facing the choice of either voting by mail or not voting at all,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is spearheading the effort alongside Klobuchar, said.
“We’re already going in this direction and now we’re in the middle of a pandemic and I think this is a very different time,” he added.
The Phase 3 bill provided $400 million for election security grants, “which can be used broadly, including to expand vote-by-mail options and early voting, as well as to clean polling facilities and conduct public education campaigns,” as Politico reported.
Democrats, however, believe they need more:
Citing the move by some Republicans to delay primaries amid coronavirus concerns, Klobuchar said that she is “looking at that next package to get the funding included” as well as some additional reforms, like removing state requirements that voters present an excuse to vote absentee.
“That’s premature. Around the world we’ve had people in new democracies go to vote when their lives were at risk because the right to vote was so precious,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said, according to Politico. “Most Americans would be very skeptical of significant changes in our ability to go cast a ballot in person, certainly at this point.”
“States should run state’s elections,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) stated. “Washington D.C. should not run the state’s elections. So if a state determines that’s the way it wants to go, a state should make that decision.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) took it a step further, stating bluntly that Democrats “want the federal government to take over elections.”
“Our Democratic friends want the federal government to take over elections, but historically those have been handled at the state level,” Cornyn said, according to Politico.
If voters “can go to the grocery store, they can go to the polls,” he added.
President Trump has also cast doubt on the idea of mail-in voting.
“I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” Trump said last week. “I think people should vote with ID, with Voter ID.”
Several Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and her former campaign attorney Marc Elias, however, are continuing to use the pandemic to push major voter changes. Those include mail-in voting, curbside voting, and ballot harvesting:

Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has warned Democrats, Pelosi particularly, against “taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis."

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