Attorney General William Barr warned that advocates of mass mail-in voting are preventing public confidence in the upcoming election.
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, Barr said the reason why the United States has not seen examples of widespread voter fraud is because it has not tried mass vote-by-mail. Citing a bipartisan commission on federal election reform, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker III, he said that the system could enable widespread fraud.
“He said if you expand mail-in voting, this is the president, it’s reckless,” Blitzer said to the attorney general, conveying the concerns of President Trump’s critics.
“Wolf, this is sort of cheap talk to get around the fundamental problem, which is the bipartisan commission, chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker, said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion,” Barr responded.
“And since that time, there have been in the newspapers, in networks, academic studies saying it is open to fraud and coercion. The only time the narrative changed is after this administration came in. But elections that have been held with mail have found substantial fraud and coercion,” Barr continued. “For example, we indicted someone in Texas, 1,700 ballots collected from people who could vote. He made them out and voted for the person he wanted to. OK? That kind of thing happens with mail-in ballots.”
Blitzer said there’s been no evidence of widespread fraud, including in states that practice mail-in voting. However, Barr said such a scenario might unfold with mass mail-in voting.
“We haven’t had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots that’s being proposed. We’ve had absentee ballots from people who request them from a specific address. Now, what we’re talking about is mailing them to everyone on the voter list, when everyone knows those voter lists are inaccurate,” Barr said.
“The only thing I’m saying is that so far, we haven’t seen widespread fraud,” Blitzer said.
“So far, we haven’t tried it!” Barr responded.
“Wolf, this is playing with fire. This is playing with fire. We’re a very closely divided country here. And if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire,” Barr continued, describing advocates of vote-by-mail.
Both Democrats and Republicans expressed concerns about voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans are skeptical of mail-in voting, with some saying it could allow for voter fraud. Democrats have brushed off those concerns, often stating voters should not risk contracting the coronavirus and should instead be given the ability to vote by mail.
During an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee in August, Barr said there is a “high risk” of potential voter fraud by using universal mail-in voting, though he also said he has no expectation that the election will be “rigged.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a core member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, alleviated concerns of those worried about contracting the coronavirus should they go out and vote in person.
“If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that,” he told National Geographic in August.
Author: Anthony Leonardi
Source: Washington Examiner: ‘Playing with fire’: Barr says advocates of mass mail-in voting jeopardize public confidence in election