Republican officials worry that President Donald Trump’s attacks on mail voting could damage the party’s chances in elections across the country in November, CNN reports.
Top Republicans have urged Trump campaign officials to “press the President to change his messaging and embrace mail-in voting,” warning that the party could lose the Senate and the White House if Republicans reject mail ballots but then cannot come out to the polls in November, whether due to coronavirus restrictions or other issues.
Republicans are particularly worried about downballot races where even a handful of votes can swing an election.
GOP officials are “fearful that deterring GOP voters from choosing a convenient option to cast their ballots could ultimately sway the outcome of races that are decided by a couple of percentage points,” CNN reported.
Coronavirus fears rise:
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to worsen in the fall, which can hamper voters’ ability to vote in person.
Some in-person primaries held during the pandemic have been disastrous, as polling places were drastically reduced due to worker shortages and voters had to brave hours-long lines amid a health crisis.
GOP officials worry that Democrats would have an advantage if they rely heavily on mail voting while Republicans heeding the president’s dubious claims about mail voting are forced to face long lines.
Trump hurting GOP strategy:
Rohn Bishop, Republican Party chairman in Fond du Lac County, told CNN that the party was “begging our voters” to vote absentee when the pandemic first hit.
"Then the President has some tweets and gets upset with mail-in balloting and we dropped the issue like a hot potato, and that's where I think we're making a mistake," Bishop said. "Our voters are running away from it. That kind of terrifies me… I'm getting aggravated because I think we're only hurting ourselves. ... Anything that ties an arm behind my back, I don't like that."
Only 15% of voters who plan to vote by mail plan to vote for Trump.
"It could have a corrosive impact if some voters who would have voted don't get to vote on Election Day -- a bunch of votes would have been left on the table," GOP pollster Glen Bolger said. "If he changed his message on this, he could have a positive impact," referring to Trump.