House Majority Whip on mail-in voting: 'You will have fraud in almost anything'

"You don't get rid of an election when you find fraud," Clyburn says, adding that he doesn't think Trump "plans to have an election."

Updated: August 3, 2020 - 4:51pm

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Addressing fraud concerns over expanded mail-in voting, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, the House majority whip, said Monday that there is “fraud in almost anything” so more federal funding needs to be passed to enhance the mail-in voting process.

States such as California have announced a decision to automatically mail ballots to every registered voter rather than require voters to request an absentee ballot. Clyburn was asked whether he worries about the November election, which will take place during a pandemic and result in more votes cast by mail, compared to past elections.

“The State of Washington has been doing this forever and they have found that there's almost no fraud. You will have fraud in almost anything,” Clyburn said during a discussion organized by the Council on Foreign Relations.

“So you don't get rid of an election when you find fraud. You find fraud up in North Carolina – the president’s own party, the guy he endorsed, committed the fraud,” he also said. 

President Trump criticized the Nevada state legislature on Monday for recently passing a bill to allow ballots to be automatically sent to every voter in the state. He’s also tweeted about the mail voting fraud in a local Patterson N.J. election as an example of what could happen nationally in November.

Clyburn said both parties might be “subjected to fraud but we should not develop our entire approach to the election based upon the possibilities of fraud.”

The South Carolina Democrat called for more vote-by-mail funding so states can handle the added influx of ballots, as a result of the coronavirus.

The stimulus bill that the House passed in May, titled the HEROES Act, includes billions in mail voting funding for states and it would require them to mail ballots to all registered voters.

“Congress can appropriate the necessary funds to have voting take place up to Election Day,” he said. “Why don't we have voting in earnest for 30 days? Why don't we put the resources in the budget so that we can say that you can vote over a period of 2, 3, 4 weeks and have all those votes.”

Clyburn railed against any state that requires a registered voter to provide a full Social Security number to request an absentee ballot.

“Voter ID laws, forcing you to provide your full Social Security number if you want an absentee ballot – these are suppression tactics that ought not to be in this country," he said.

Clyburn also elaborated on his previous claim that Trump plans to “install himself in some kind of emergency way” to hold onto office.

"I don't think this man plans to have an election," he said. "I think this man thinks he's going to hoodwink the people of this country, much the way that the people of Germany were hoodwinked back in the 1930s."

Delaying the November election due to the coronavirus pandemic would require an act of Congress. 

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