On Tuesday night, Vice President Mike Pence discussed elections with Fox News' Martha MacCallum. The interview followed a contentious House Judiciary hearing where Democratic committee members questioned Attorney General Bill Barr about the potential for voter fraud in upcoming elections.
Through the generations, Americans have worn the uniform, fought and died to protect all of our freedoms. The right to vote is at the heart of this democracy. pic.twitter.com/felQe6DrkF— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) July 29, 2020
In the interview, the Vice President discussed the differences between traditional absentee voting and universal vote-by-mail:
What we’ve had in this country for a long time is absentee ballot voting by mail. We’ve had it in the state of Indiana. I’ve voted absentee myself since I got this job in Washington D.C. And look, [absentee voting] requires [the] person to request a ballot, that then the signature is verified, and we protect the vote. The integrity of the vote is paramount.
Through the generations, Americans have worn the uniform and fought and died to protect all of our freedoms - and the right to vote is at the heart of this democracy. And absentee balloting is a time-honored tradition.
But what you see across this country in Democrat-led states, is an effort for universal distribution of ballots without the accountability that you have with absentee balloting. And when you combine that with states like California that actually allow what’s called vote bundling or vote harvesting, you see where the entire ability for widespread fraud is very real.
The Vice President also reiterated the Trump Administration's commitment to protecting election integrity:
What you’re hearing from President Trump, and [what] you will continue hearing from this administration, is a commitment to protect the one-person, one-vote integrity of our electoral system. And we’re going to stand strong on that.
Vice President Pence's comments echoed the testimony that Attorney General Bill Barr had made earlier in the day at the House Judiciary hearing:
As Barr makes perfectly clear, there is a massive difference between making accommodations for those who need to vote absentee, and converting the entire system to mail-in voting.— John Cooper (@thejcoop) July 28, 2020
Pretending there's not a difference is plain dishonest. #BarrHearing pic.twitter.com/p4jO7GdJ9c
Recent events in New Jersey illustrate the risks of all-mail elections. Paterson, the state's third-largest city, had nearly a 20% mail ballot rejection rate. The high number of ballot disqualifications was mainly the result of ballots lacking a matching signature and ballots being illegally harvested. To make matters worse, four individuals were indicted on charges of illegally possessing and tampering with mail ballots. Ultimately, 10% of ballots were rejected statewide.
Vice President Pence is right, there should be accountability for votes cast via mail-in ballot. Recent elections conducted by mail, such as the one in New Jersey, illustrate the high risk of fraud and disenfranchisement associated with universal vote-by-mail elections. Voting in-person remains the best way for voters to guarantee that their vote is counted.