I write during one of the most challenging times our nation has faced, and I trust that you, your family, and your colleagues are all staying safe and well. As lawyers, our profession is facing difficulties like every other sector of the economy, and as always, we have an important role to play to uphold the rule of law even during a time of upheaval.
Never willing to let a serious crisis go to waste, Democrats have attempted to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to advance their radical agenda, including in the area of elections. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held the aid package to ordinary Americans hostage to her progressive wish list, which included an absentee ballot mailed to everyone on the voter registration list, ballot harvesting, abolishing voter ID rules, same-day registration, and vastly expanded federal power over election administration.
Democrat lawyer Marc Elias has sought to rewrite election rules through threats and litigation, scoring political points against election integrity through the eager mainstream media even when he is unsuccessful in court. Democrats seek to manipulate the system to give themselves electoral advantage. In many places, they are now advocating for all-mail elections, ostensibly because of the coronavirus, though in reality they have been calling for all-mail elections for years. Such a transition would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, in most states, but Democrats demand it because they see it as a way they can more easily win. Yet just last week, Elias wrote to the state of Nevada, describing how difficult a transition to an all-mail election would be, praising the importance of in-person voting, and threatening to sue if it did not expand in-person voting for the June primary.
In contrast to the Democrats' opportunistic approach, Republicans want to apply consistent rules that protect individual voters, avoid voter confusion and allow voters to retain the freedom to choose how they cast their votes.
Mail voting is vital to protect the rights of vulnerable populations such as the elderly and immuno-compromised, members of the military, and those who are serving us on the front lines of our war against this pandemic, but it can also lead to disenfranchisement through fraud or mistake. Without adequate safeguards, those who rely on mail voting can have their votes stolen or simply thrown out due to an error. This is why it is vital that expanded use of absentee voting is undertaken carefully, with protections for the security and integrity of the process, and not simply as another line item on the radical progressives’ wish list.
Republicans steadfastly oppose changes to election rules close to an election, which inevitably leads to confusion for voters and election officials. The Supreme Court’s Purcell principle purports to avoid such changes (Purcell v. Gonzalez), but it has been inconsistently applied. Last week, the Supreme Court showed that there are now five votes to enforce the Purcell principle and prevent the sowing of confusion through rewriting election rules close to the election.
During this time of social distancing, the RNLA is hosting weekly Friday conference calls or video presentations in lieu of our normal events around the country. We are still planning to hold the 2020 National Election Law Seminar on July 10 and 11 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and The Lawyers' Reception at the 2020 Republican National Convention on August 25 in Charlotte, North Carolina. And this fall, we will host election law trainings in many states to help train lawyers to ensure the election is open, fair, and honest. We hope to see you at an RNLA event once the current precautions are no longer necessary.