Kevin Mullin

Kevin Mullin

America is confronting an unprecedented “trifecta” that is dominating our daily headlines: A COVID-19 pandemic, a deep recession and most recently the murder of an unarmed black man by law enforcement, illustrative of systemic racism and injustice that has spawned a season of multiracial protests and calls for needed social change. Yet, while the nation is reeling from these crises, duplicitous messaging is being deployed by the occupant of the Oval Office to actively undermine the results of this November’s election: that voting by mail can’t be trusted, that widespread voter fraud exists, and that mail balloting is designed specifically to elect his opponent: FALSE.

Since 2000, more than 250 million votes have been cast via mailed ballots, in all 50 states, according to the Vote at Home Institute with only a handful of fraudulent votes cast. Election law expert and U.C. Irvine professor Richard L. Hasen notes, it is still more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail-voting fraud. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that voting by mail benefits any particular political party.

San Mateo County has shown that voting-by-mail works. My legislation to make San Mateo County an all-mail ballot pilot county demonstrated that the participating electorate more closely resembles the public at large in terms of its diversity and representation, with young people, and voters of color in particular more likely to cast ballots. Thanks to my colleague, Assemblyman Marc Berman’s legislation recently signed into law, this November’s election in California will be an all-mailed-ballot election. Every voter automatically will receive a ballot, postage paid, with community-level “vote centers” as back-up. Voting by mail is the most efficient and effective way to conduct an inclusive and participatory election.

So-called “red and blue” states alike have employed voting-by-mail, but the way states have approached elections administration varies greatly. Elections are fundamentally state and locally administered, and recent examples of mismanagement during primary elections in Wisconsin and Georgia remind us of the challenges facing election administrators across the country. This is a highly charged political atmosphere with huge stakes on the line.

There is a growing recognition that the pandemic must force changes in how elections work, and better ensure more participation moving forward. Attempts to help fund elections with federal dollars have fallen woefully short of what is needed to ensure free and fair elections across America. Since the Bush-Gore contested election in 2000, the efficacy of voting mechanisms and machinery have taken center stage. More recently, we are seeing a coordinated misinformation campaign to attack the integrity of, and undermine the public’s faith in, our elections. False narratives abound, and voter suppression, which disproportionally disenfranchises communities of color, is real and we all suffer the consequences as a result.

While voting-by-mail works, it is not perfect. Signature-matching issues have led to ballots not being counted, a concern that is actively being addressed in California. One other legitimate drawback to voting at home is the time it takes local elections’ officials to count waves of mail ballots and certify the election. The current administration is preemptively trying to undermine faith in the eventual vote count and may try to exploit delays in vote tabulation to question the legitimacy of results, triggering a constitutional crisis. While the long wait for vote-by-mail results is not ideal, it’s in the interest of every vote being counted, which is fundamental to our democracy.

During this tense time when we need leaders who can calm, heal, and build faith, the president has used this period to further divide people and incite violence, all while callously attacking the basic underpinnings of our democracy, like faith in and respect for the work of journalists — essentially a broadside on the First Amendment. The work of journalists and the social media platforms themselves have never been more important in fact checking false claims and advertisements with false information.

Vote as if democracy itself, and its pillars like a free press, the rule of law, and free and fair elections, including the right of every citizen to vote, is on the ballot. Because it is.

Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, is speaker pro tempore of the California Assembly and represents San Mateo County’s 22nd Assembly District.

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(5) comments

Lou

Per Election Integrity Project:

Hundreds of Thousands of Ineligible Persons Could be Mailed Ballots if California Goes All Vote By Mail in November Election

Watchdog group claims over 458,000 likely dead or relocated persons will be mailed ballots; 24,000 will be mailed two or more ballots.

Poor voter list maintenance cited.

Santa Clarita, Calif. - On April 28, Election Integrity Project, California (EIPCa) sent notice to California's Secretary of State (SOS) of the state's failure to comply with federal voter list maintenance laws. EIPCa's report, based on its analysis of California's official voter registration file, includes evidence that the coronavirus-related proposal to mail ballots to all California voters has heightened the risks to the integrity of the November 2020 election:

Over 458,000 California registrants who have likely died or moved will be mailed ballots. These registrants have not voted or updated their registrations since November 2008 or prior. Though likely deceased or relocated, they remain classified as "active" status. Almost 178,000 have never voted. Almost 2,000 have birthdates indicating they are 105+ years old.

Over 38,000 Californians appear to have more than one voter registration. 24,000 of them will be mailed two or more ballots under an all-mail scenario, because they have more than one active registration each.

Mailing hundreds of thousands of ballots to non-existent addressees opens the door to election crime. Mass "seeding" of unclaimed ballots, coupled with ballot "harvesting" by unscrupulous operatives, is a significant risk to the integrity of the November election. Mailing two or more ballots each to thousands of duplicated registrants allows-- even "invites" --voters to vote twice. California's SOS has already confirmed double voting in the March 3 primary by duplicated registrants who were mailed two ballots each.

"Federal law requires the state to maintain voter lists free of those who have died or relocated and to remove duplicated registrations," said EIPCa President Linda Paine. "This is especially critical under all-mail voting. Unless ineligible registrations are removed, hundreds of thousands of unclaimed ballots will likely go into circulation without chain of custody protections, due to state-sanctioned ballot harvesting. Defective laws and mismanaged voter rolls continue to risk the integrity of California's November election."

Tafhdyd

I want a fair election as much as the next honest person. I read about EIP and they tout being a non-partisan organization. Further investigations reveal information regarding Breitbart and Judicial Watch, both far right organizations. This sounds a lot like the old saying that hundreds of dead people vote every year in Chicago and that is why Democrats win. My reply is all dead people are not Democrats and if the Republicans can't get out the dead vote that is their problem.

Tafhdyd

A very good explanation of the continual attempt by the corrupt administration lead by Donald Trump to suppress voting by the poor, minorities and the aged. President Trump has resurrected his mantra about voter fraud by the millions just as he did when elected. His own committee to investigate widespread voter fraud of millions of votes disbanded in less than a year because they could not find any widespread fraud. The only documented widespread fraud since the commission closed was not even that widespread and involved about 900 ballots in North Carolina carried out by ....wait for it....yes, the Republicans. Nice try Donald.

Tommy Tee

Excellent letter, Mr. Mullin. Couldn't agree with you more. Folks like Conway want to suppress the vote, because the more people who vote the less of a chance Trump has to win. Pretty pathetic they don't want more people to have the opportunity to vote.

Christopher Conway

Kevin Mullin- a politician by birth, groomed to be Democrat and now doing everything he can to change how we vote. Mr. Mullin is the ring leader on changing our voting laws in California and getting younger people to vote, harvesting ballots and doing anything to get his side the advantage. There are too many families in the Democratic party along the peninsula that have held on to power for much too long. Mr. Mullin and his family are one of them.

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