Republican Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, defended mail-in voting on Friday amid reports that President Donald Trump is trying to sabotage the US Postal Service to sabotage the 2020 election.
Asked during an interview with the Sutherland Institute if he agreed with Trump’s claims — presented without evidence — that voting by mail increases voter fraud, Romney said:
“I don’t know of any evidence that voting by mail would increase voter fraud. My biggest concern, frankly, with regards to voting fraud has been that there would be some kind of hacking of our voting electronic systems, and that voting machines or tabulating equipment would be hacked.”
Romney added it was “essential” that people who want to vote are able to vote.
“That’s more important than even the outcome of the vote. We have got to preserve the principle of democracy or the trend we’re on is going to continue to get worse,” he said.
“When politicians attack a judicial system, attack a voting system … attack a free press, these things threaten the foundation upon which not only our own democracy rests but democracies around the world rest,” The Utah Republican added.
Trump has repeatedly railed against mail-in voting across the country. Ironically, Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both requested mail-in ballots for the upcoming Florida primaries.
The fight over mail-in voting comes as election officials are expecting voters to rely more heavily on mail ballots in November due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to fewer polling places and raised concerns about at-risk individuals casting ballots in person.
Democrats want to provide $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service and $3.6 billion to help states carry out elections during the pandemic — such as expanding early in-person voting or mail-in voting — as part of a fifth coronavirus relief bill. Negotiations on the package have been stalled for roughly a week after talks collapsed between key negotiators.
Trump this week admitted that he’s blocking funding to the USPS to prevent mail-in-voting.