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As GOP fights mail-in voting, some Washington Republicans push back

Mailed-in ballots await counting at the Pierce County election office in Tacoma, ahead of Washington state's March 2020 presidential primary.
Ed Ronco
/
KNKX
Mailed-in ballots await counting at the Pierce County election office in Tacoma, ahead of Washington state's March 2020 presidential primary.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during an election year has renewed a nationwide conversation about mail-in voting.

The Republican National Committee pledged millions toward opposing election reforms, including universal mail-in voting. President Donald Trump’s campaign calls it “substantially fraudulent.” But that’s not true. In Washington state, where the practice has been in effect for nearly a decade, Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman said 142 people tried to vote fraudulently in 2018, out of more than 3 million ballots cast. That puts the rate at .004 percent.

She has said she hopes to convince people — including the president — that mail-in voting is a safe and effective way to conduct an election.

And she’s not the only Republican elected official concerned about her party’s rhetoric on the subject. Kevin Shutty is a Mason County commissioner:

“As Republicans, we should be embracing two things: One, election security, but also we should be looking for ways to safely and securely increase participation at the ballot box,” Shutty told KNKX Public Radio. “And I think here in Washington state we’ve proven that can be done.”

Listen to his conversation with All Things Considered host Ed Ronco, above.

Ed Ronco came to KNKX in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KNKX’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.