Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why

Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why
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Twitter’s first-ever fact-checking of President TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE has infuriated Republicans — and rightly so. The ham-fisted effort to “correct” the president’s message about mail-in voting, echoing Democrats’ talking points, is indisputable evidence of the social media giant’s leftward bias, which has riled conservatives for years.

But while many are focusing on Twitter’s new and unwelcome censorship role, they are ignoring the more important questions that should be asked: Why this issue? Why now?

Twitter attached a footnote to two tweets from the president, which ran as follows: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone.....”

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“living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”

To both those segments, Twitter added a notice: “! Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” If readers click on that bulletin, they are directed to brief comments refuting Trump’s charges, including this line: “These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”

Why would Twitter plant its flag on this issue? Why risk infuriating President Trump and his 80.4 million followers, even as Twitter and other social media companies face increased scrutiny by Congress and users over privacy and anti-trust issues?

Because, to quote Rolling Stone, “Democrats need massive, if not record-breaking, voter turnout in November to pry Donald Trump out of the White House.”  

And because that is not going to happen with Joe BidenJoe BidenCan Republicans handle the aftermath of Donald Trump? Biden seeks to supplant Trump in Georgia Trump's Mount Rushmore stunt will backfire MORE, and especially Joe Biden in the basement, leading the ticket.

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Even before he was quarantined in his home, Biden faced an enormous “enthusiasm gap” compared to Trump. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll from a couple of months ago, only 24 percent of Biden backers described themselves as strongly supporting the candidate, the lowest recorded for a Democratic contender in the past two decades. By contrast, 53 percent of those planning to vote for Trump were “strongly enthusiastic.”

To have any chance of winning in November, Democrats have to overcome that enthusiasm deficit, and get uninspired people to vote. The best way to make that happen is to ease the process by allowing mail-in voting and flooding communities with ballots that can be rounded up and delivered by Democratic foot soldiers.

COVID-19 has given Democrats an unexpected opportunity to push this approach. They can insist that elderly or sick people who fear infection should not have to brave a polling place, but instead have the opportunity to participate by mail. This argument, which has some merit, gained ground during the primary season.

Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers tried to cancel in-person voting during his state’s primary, and to extend the deadline for absentee ballots, warning that polling places would not be able to keep people safe. Republicans, smelling a rat, sued. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled his executive order, and the election went forward as planned.

In the aftermath, there was no indication that voting in person had made anyone sick, despite all the frantic alarms.

Democrats will continue to push mail-in voting, claiming that there are few instances of fraud. But Trump is correct that voting by mail opens the door to ballot harvesting, which is allowed in 24 states, and other measures in which activists take advantage of the inevitable confusion created by millions of paper ballots floating through the mail.

We have seen how effective ballot harvesting can be for Democrats. California passed a law in 2016 for the first time allowing someone other than a family member or someone living in the same household to drop off or “harvest” a ballot. In the 2018 election, seven Republican House candidates led on election night but gradually saw their lead shrink as mail-in ballots surfaced in the weeks to follow; all seven lost. Then-House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) said the outcome “defied logic,” and he was correct.

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Fred Whitaker, chairman of the county Republican Party, saying that in Orange County “the number of Election Day vote-by-mail dropoffs was unprecedented — over 250,000. This is a direct result of ballot harvesting allowed under California law for the first time. That directly caused the switch from being ahead on election night to losing two weeks later.”

California is not the only location, and Democrats not the only party, to manipulate mail-in voting. A Republican operative was arrested on election fraud charges, including illegal ballot harvesting, in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in 2018, and the election’s results were tossed. 

California’s outcome for Democrats was so gratifying that it has inspired Democratic Governor Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomRand Paul's exchange with Fauci was exactly what America needed California goes from COVID-19 success story to cautionary tale The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time MORE recently to order that 2020 ballots be sent to all registered voters. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielTrump to hold in-person fundraiser with wealthy donors in Florida Biden campaign raised M more than Trump in the month of June RNC, Trump campaign raised 1M in June MORE recently said in an interview, “In Los Angeles County alone there are 1.5 million more registered voters than there are adults in the state.” That is a staggering figure, and an excellent reason to worry about the potential for fraud.

Though California officials have now reluctantly agreed to remove “inactive voters” from the lists that will receive ballots, McDaniel argues, “Now they should clean up their active rolls, because 5% of voters in Imperial, Fresno, & LA counties are dead or moved away.”

McDaniel added that even though California’s secretary of state “admits how important signature verification is…National Democrat groups are suing to gut those very measures in states across the country.”

Democrats will stop at nothing to defeat Donald Trump. But trying to undermine the integrity of our elections will only rally his supporters, nullifying their efforts.

Twitter leaping to their aid will do the same.

 Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.