GEE AND URSULA

Washington Sec. of State Wyman: Trump war against vote-by-mail ‘a dangerous path to go down’

Aug 14, 2020, 12:46 PM | Updated: Aug 18, 2020, 10:29 am
ballot, election, Kim Wyman...
A ballot drop box in Washington state. (AP file photo)
(AP file photo)

President Trump has spoken out several times in opposition to widespread mail-in voting, admitting Thursday he’s against crucial funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as a means to limit people’s ability to vote by mail. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman stopped by KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show to shed some light on what that means for the November election as a whole.

Washington state leads charge to get US to vote by mail in November

“The politicization of administrative processes, whether it is in the USPS or in a county election office, is a dangerous path to go down,” said Wyman, a Republican herself. “Any time we start calling into question those foundational elements of a healthy election, people lose confidence, and they lose confidence that the election reflects the way people voted.”

In their last coronavirus aid package, Congressional Democrats included $25 billion in crucial relief money for the USPS. Trump told Fox News on Thursday that any such funding would be “for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent,” and that Democrats “need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”

Meanwhile, Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made numerous changes to the USPS infrastructure in the last few weeks, which many experts worry will slow the timely delivery of ballots in November. The changes include decommissioning hundreds of high-volume mail-processing machines across the country, cutting staff hours, eliminating overtime pay for postal workers, and even removing mailboxes in places like Portland and New York City.

Addressing repeated claims from Trump that mail-in ballots would lead to a “fraudulent” election, Wyman emphasized the importance of assuring the public that the systems in place can sustain a free and fair election.

“I think it’s a disservice to the tens of thousands of election officials that are across the country, both Democrats and Republicans, who are doing this work to try to have fair elections, to throw out information like that that would cast doubt on that process,” she said.

Wyman also remains confident that, at least in Washington state, any potential slowdowns with ballot delivery by the USPS can be mitigated. The state mails ballots to voters beginning 20 days before Election Day at “nonprofit bulk rate.” That’s the standard delivery rate for the post office, and ensures a ballot arrives in your mailbox within five to 10 days.

How Washington is fighting back against attempts to hack ballots

That being so, having to wait 10 days for an in-state ballot to arrive is “the worst-case scenario,” according to USPS representatives Wyman has spoken to herself. For out-of-state absentee voters, ballots are sent out 45 days before Election Day as a precaution.

“I’m confident that even in the worst case scenario, our voters are going to receive a ballot within 10 days of it being mailed, and they’re still going to have about 10 days to return the ballot,” she promised.

County election officials will also switch postage to first class mail for any ballot sent in closer to Election Day, ensuring they get turned in within two to three days.

“We have layers of fail safes in case that delivery window is a problem, but I’m confident it won’t be,” Wyman said.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Washington Sec. of State Wyman: Trump war against vote-by-mail ‘a dangerous path to go down’