At the end of March, President Donald Trump stated that making it easier to vote could keep some Republicans from getting elected. The comment was made as he rejected a Democrat-led initiative for voter reform as a part of the coronavirus stimulus, according to The Guardian. Proposed changes included vote-by-mail, early voting, and same-day registration as states attempt to safely hold elections during the pandemic. The voter reform was not passed as a part of the $2.2 trillion package that included $400 million to help states conduct elections.
"They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save," Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends.Following Trump's appearance and remarks, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) responded with claims that the president must see voter suppression as a reelection strategy. The DNC suggested that Trump's comments show just how integral voting barriers are to elongating a political career for some Republicans.
"Ensuring that Americans can vote during the Covid-19 crisis is fundamental to maintaining our democracy. It is shocking that Trump is essentially admitting that when the American people vote, Republican lose," said Xochitl Hinojosa, a DNC spokeswoman.
Trump's remarks were reiterated by some Georgia Republicans on Wednesday. Despite postponement efforts from 11 Georgia Republican members of Congress, the state's May 19 primary election is still happening, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The congressional members even signed a letter on Tuesday asking Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to delay the primary date.
During a public announcement to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order, Gov. Brian Kemp claimed he does not have the power to postpone the primary. Kemp and Raffensperger are supported by state House Speaker David Ralston. On Wednesday, Ralston also said that absentee voting would hurt Republicans.Active Georgia voters will be mailed an absentee ballot request form this week. Those who return the ballot request will be able to participate in the primary from afar. Otherwise, voters will have to risk contact with people on election day amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During normal election cycles outside of global pandemics, similar ideas about voting are often shared. Democrats typically claim that Republicans make voting hard to prevent populations from casting a ballot. Those populations typically include young voters, minorities, and immigrants. Voter fraud is very rare, but it is often Republicans' argument against voter reform.