Despite the fact that he claimed he agreed George Stephanopoulos' assertion that there is "no compelling evidence that mail-in ballots are tied to widespread voter fraud," that's exactly the narrative White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was trying to push on ABC's This Week.
As the Brennan Center for Justice has reported, mail-in ballots "are essential for holding a safe election amid Covid-19" and what security concerns there are can easily be addressed:
Despite this dramatic increase in mail voting over time, fraud rates remain infinitesimally small. None of the five states that hold their elections primarily by mail has had any voter fraud scandals since making that change. As the New York Times editorial board notes, “states that use vote-by-mail have encountered essentially zero fraud: Oregon, the pioneer in this area, has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented only about a dozen cases of proven fraud.” Rounded to the seventh decimal point, that’s 0.0000001 percent of all votes cast. An exhaustive investigative journalism analysis of all known voter fraud cases identified only 491 cases of absentee ballot fraud from 2000 to 2012. As election law professor Richard L. Hasen notes, during that period “literally billions of votes were cast.” While mail ballots are more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting, it is still more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail voting fraud.
States have multiple tools to address valid security concerns and protect election integrity when it comes to mail ballots. And recent technologies and strategies have significantly enhanced the security of mail balloting.
As the article explains, those are identity verification, bar codes, ballot tracking through the U.S. Postal Service, secure drop-off locations and drop boxes, harsh penalties for voter fraud, postelection audits, and polling sites as a fail-safe.
Here's Meadows response when asked about his boss' lie that "mail-in voting is going to rig the election."
MEADOWS: Well, George, you talked earlier about no compelling evidence of any voter fraud as it relates to mail-in ballots. I would have to disagree with that --
STEPHANOPOULOS: I said widespread voter fraud.
MEADOWS: OK, wide spread. Well, here’s -- the thing is we haven't had widespread mail-in ballots. The Democrats see this as their panacea of being able to put a ballot in every mailbox and hope for the best.
Listen, that's not the way that -- that the voter integrity process needs to run where you send a ballot to everybody. Absentee ballots, the request for absentee ballots is certainly something that’s happened in a number of states. It’s certainly something the president supports.
But as we look at that, we want to make sure that every vote counts, but that it’s only one vote per person. You can't have vote harvesting.
We’ve seen ballot harvesting schemes in California, and I’m not suggesting that there's widespread fraud. There’s certainly is fraud. But there's certainly fraud --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me press you on that.
MEADOWS: To be intellectually honest, we need to make sure that we have that. Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me press you on that because not just Democrats raising the questions. Tom Ridge, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, former homeland security under President Bush, George W. Bush, has said there's no history of widespread voter fraud.
And he wonders: When you listen to the president, you begin to wonder, is he worried about the legitimacy of the electoral process or is he worried about losing?
Your response to that --
MEADOWS: Yes, to my knowledge, Tom hasn't been involved in any voter integrity project since perhaps he left over a decade ago, And so, I don't know if that's an informed decision as much as it is an opinion. And everybody can come on TV and provide their opinion.
What we do know is a number of times as we have mail-in ballots, if there is -- is not a chain of custody that goes from the voter to the ballot box, mischief can happen. And we’ve seen that throughout our history. We also see very clearly that if you're going to cast a ballot, you want to make sure it goes in the ballot box and it’s your vote that counts, not your vote for someone else that gets decided by another person.
If Republicans were actually concerned about the integrity of our elections, they'd be putting their money where their mouths are, but instead we've got Mitch McConnell refusing to propose a single dollar to help states conduct safe elections during a global pandemic.
Despite all of their fearmongering over vote-by-mail, that hasn't stopped the Trump campaign from promoting it when they believe it will help their campaign, as Rick Tyler pointed out on Twitter today: