Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday expressed confidence about no-excuse mail-in voting in his state, making him one of a sizable group of Republican state officials defending the practice ahead of the November election despite Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting as inherently fraudulent.
As many states have expanded mail-in voting in response to the health risks in-person voting pose amid the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has argued that widespread voting by mail is “dangerous” and “substantially fraudulent,” contradicting experts who say the practice is effectively as secure as other forms of voting.
On Tuesday, Trump singled out Florida as a sole state where mail-in voting is “safe and secure,” citing its recent Republican governors, but his campaign has launched legal efforts to stop expanded mail-in voting in other states.
In addition to universal support from Democrats, mail-in voting has also found defenders among the GOP, including DeWine, who has previously parried Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and who said on CNN’s State of the Union that he is “comfortable” with allowing all voters in the state to request a mail-in ballot.
“We have long experience in voting by mail,” DeWine said of Ohio, where he says voting by mail has worked “exceedingly well,” declaring, “it will work.”
Other Republicans defending expanded vote-by-mail include Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, as well as the Republican secretaries of state of Ohio, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Kentucky, West Virginia, Iowa and Georgia.
Many Republicans have sounded alarm bells about the electoral impacts of Trump’s screeds against mail-in voting amid polls that show Republican voters have relatively low confidence in voting by mail. “The fact that you have so-called party leaders parroting Trump’s B.S. on vote by mail is basically putting a knife to their own electoral throats,” said former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele earlier this month.
Even though DeWine supports voting by mail, some on the left feel the state’s Republican leaders could do more to expand voter access. The Ohio Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters filed lawsuits demanding that Ohio residents be allowed to submit absentee ballot applications by email. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, supports the creation of an online portal, but the legislature has failed to take any action on such a proposal. The suits also challenge security measures such as signature matching.
What To Watch For
The Trump administration is reportedly eyeing executive actions to limit mail-in voting in states that have expanded it. But election processes are largely determined at the state and local level, meaning the bulk of pivotal decisions on mail-in will ultimately be up to governors like DeWine.