“Wolf, this is a sort of cheap talk to get around the fundamental problem, which is the Bipartisan Commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion,” Barr said.
“This is playing with fire, this is playing with fire,” Barr told the CNN host. “We’re a very closely divided country here. And if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire.”
BARR: Well, we haven’t had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots that’s being proposed. We’ve got absentee ballots from people who request them from a specific address.
Now what we’re talking about is mailing them to everyone on the voter list, when everyone knows those voter lists are inaccurate. People who should get them don’t get them, which has been one of the major complaints in states that have tried this, in municipal elections.
And people who get them are not the right people. They’re people who have replaced the occupant — the previous occupant, and they can make them out. And sometimes multiple ballots come to the same address with a whole generation — several generations of occupants.
Do you think that’s a way to run a vote?
BLITZER: Well, the only thing I’m saying is that so far we haven’t seen widespread fraud, but you —
BARR: So far we haven’t tried it.
BLITZER: Well —
BARR: And the point is —
BLITZER: Well, there’s been (ph) a lot of us — there are several states that only have mail-in voting, including a Republican —
BARR: Well, this is playing with fire, this is playing with fire.
We’re a very closely divided country here. And if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire.
BLITZER: Well, I will point out there are five states that only have mail-in voting, including Utah and Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Hawaii. And they’ve reported over the years they’ve had virtually no problems.
But who’s trying to change the rules right now?
BARR: I would say the people who want to go to mass mail-in ballots.
BLITZER: But you understand why. There is a coronavirus pandemic –
BLITZER: — and there are a lot of people, potentially if they waited in long lines, when they go to the polls, they could get sick — especially older people or people with underlying conditions.
As a result, a lot of people want to change the rules so they don’t have to go wait in –
BLITZER: — long lines, they don’t have to touch all this equipment.
BARR: And the appropriate way to deal with that is, number one, arrangements at the polls that protect people, which can be done.
And number two, people who are — have pre-existing conditions and are particularly vulnerable can get an absentee ballot.
I have no problem with people — I voted by absentee ballot, not by mail, I actually went to the office to cast my vote, but absentee ballots are fine.
Watch the full interview in two parts: