- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Democrats are furiously scrambling to tell their voters to cast ballots in person, rather than by mail, saying neither the U.S. Postal Service nor the courts can be trusted, after spending months emphasizing vote-by-mail as a safe and easy option during the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden voted early in person in Delaware with his wife, Jill, on Wednesday. His team advised voters to do the same before or on Election Day Nov. 3, or to find a dropbox location if they already have their ballot.

“We’re really encouraging voters to take their absentee ballots to their clerk’s office or a dropbox,” said Quentin Turner, program director for the group Common Cause Michigan. “We are not telling them to submit by mail anymore — our secretary of state says it’s too late for that.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that ballots in Wisconsin, another key swing state, must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

The high court’s ruling supersedes an earlier federal court ruling that would have allowed the ballots to be counted up to six days after the election as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

President Trump called the Wisconsin ruling a “big victory” as he was campaigning in Nevada Wednesday.

The ruling has left state leaders with little time to adjust their pitches.

“Yesterday when folks asked us ‘should I still mail it?’ — depending on where you are, maybe that’s fine,” Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said on CNN. “At this point, I would say hand-deliver that ballot. It feels great.”

Mr. Wikler said dropboxes are all over the state where people can technically place their ballots in person.

“This is a ‘no-time-to-wait’ election, so our message is hand-deliver your ballot and we will be reminding you pretty much every few hours until the polls close if you don’t get your ballot in,” he said. “So save yourself some trouble and get that ballot turned in.”

As Mr. Turner indicated, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said this week that the U.S. Postal Service cannot be relied upon to deliver absentee ballots within a week of Election Day.

“Citizens who already have an absentee ballot should sign the back of the envelope and hand-deliver it to their city or township clerk’s office or ballot dropbox as soon as possible,” Ms. Benson said. “Voters who haven’t yet received their ballot should go to their clerk’s office to request it in person. They can fill it out, sign the envelope and submit it all in one trip.”

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party sent out an email blast to supporters this week saying that with USPS experiencing delays, the most “surefire way” to return a ballot on time is delivering it in-person to a county elections office or a dropbox or satellite office.

“Make a plan to return your ballot in person,” the party said. “Start by finding your county elections office, a dropbox or a nearby voting center.”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday said it wouldn’t expedite a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to revisit an earlier ruling that left in place a decision from the state Supreme Court allowing mail-in ballots to be counted if they are received up to three days after Election Day.

Mr. Trump said Wednesday he hopes the courts will step in to prevent the counting from going on for too long past Election Day.

“Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after Nov. 3rd to count ballots — that won’t be allowed by the various courts,” the president said.

Mr. Trump’s team says that Democrats’ months-long emphasis on voting by mail is now coming back to bite them because they’re not hitting the early voting benchmarks that they need.

“It’s why you saw the Biden campaign send Joe Biden to vote in person in Delaware,” said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh. “They have realized that they frightened their voters away from voting in person.”

A federal judge issued an order Tuesday saying that the Postal Service should make late and extra delivery trips “to the maximum extent necessary” to ensure that election-related mail is delivered on time.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan and other judges had already issued rulings to block the Postal Service from making previously announced policy and delivery changes that could have slowed delivery.

USPS has said that it continues to prioritize the timely delivery of election mail.

The Postal Service had previously advised the public to send in their mail ballots at least a week before their state’s deadline to ensure that their votes get counted.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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