States should consider moving up their deadlines to request mail-in ballots, as the current process could create a messy outcome in November, author and Wall Street Journal assistant editorial page editor James Freeman argued on “Your World” Friday.
“You think of New York, Michigan, where you have very tight deadlines,” Freeman told host Neil Cavuto. “The ability to send in a ballot — and there are going to be a lot more of them by mail than there normally are — right before the election, [the] postal service, you know, normally will deliver something within five days but not always.”
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In Michigan, which Trump narrowly won in 2016 and is projected to be a battleground again this time around, voters’ request for mail-in ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 3.
“It almost guarantees that you’re going to have disputes and litigation for days and perhaps weeks after election day and that’s not the system we want,” Freeman added. “We want a clean, respected system that gives us an Election Night result. And so, I think at a minimum, as this issue is raised, those states should think about moving deadlines so that we can declare a winner on Election Night. That should be the goal.”
In July, Postal Service General Counsel Thomas Marshall reportedly warned Michigan’s top election official of a “significant risk that the voter will not have sufficient time to complete and mail the completed ballot back to election officials in time for it to arrive by the state’s return deadline.”
Reuters similarly reported last month that the U.S. Postal Service issued similar warnings to officials in Pennsylvania and Washington state. In Pennsylvania, another battleground state, residents’ request for mail-in ballots must be received by Oct. 27.
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In nine states and Washington, D.C., every registered voter will be mailed a ballot ahead of the election. Voters in 33 states will be allowed to cast an absentee ballot without an excuse.
In eight states, every registered voter will be mailed an application to request an absentee ballot. In 25 states, voters will need to acquire an application for an absentee ballot themselves. And, in another eight states, voters still need an excuse beyond coronavirus to vote absentee.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Julia Musto contributed to this report.