WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Coronavirus fears have postponed many primary elections already.
Some lawmakers want states to implement universal mail-in voting so no one has to come to a polling place. But the idea is getting pushback.
“We have to physically distance ourselves,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. “We cannot democratically distance ourselves.”
Congressman Swalwell is one of many Democrats calling for universal mail-in voting.
“We can’t allow this pandemic to set us backward as far as access to the polls,” Rep. Swalwell said.
More than a dozen states have delayed their primaries over coronavirus concerns.
Rep. Swalwell says mail-in voting allows everyone to safely cast their ballots from home, without delaying or canceling elections.
“We’re going to need that nationwide if these types of cases are still peaking,” he said.
But the voting process is up to each individual state. Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats are proposing billions of dollars to encourage states to roll out a mail-in voting system.
“Some people may prefer to go to the polls, but the lower that number is, the healthier for everyone,” said Rep. Pelosi, D-Calif.
But President Trump says mail-in voting could lead to widespread voter fraud.
“Mail-in voting is a terrible thing,” President Trump said. “You get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room signing ballots all over the place.”
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., says money for mail-in balloting doesn’t belong in a coronavirus emergency bill.
“You want to hold the bill up because you want to change election law in November, because somehow you think that gives you some political benefit. That’s disgusting to me,” Rep. McCarthy said.
Speaker Pelosi says the issue remains on the table as party leaders work out the next emergency aid package.