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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Menendez: Mail-in voting must stick around, despite Trump attacks

President trying to sow doubt ahead of election, Menendez says

By Nikita Biryukov, August 03 2020 2:57 pm

U.S. Bob Menendez put himself firmly opposite President Donald Trump’s calls to nix mail-in voting Monday.

“Whatever way any citizen wants to cast their vote, they should be available to do so,” Menendez said. “So, I think in the midst of a pandemic, I have voted absentee in the past. I will likely vote absentee in November if things continue to be a challenge in terms of public health, by way of example.”

In recent weeks, Trump has derided mail-in voting, claiming it would lead to widespread voter fraud.

Though a handful of officials were charged for their involvement in an alleged vote-by-mail scheme in Paterson’s May non-partisan municipal elections, no such irregularities were seen during last month’s primaries.

To Menendez, Trump and his administration’s derision of mail-in voting — a practice that Gov. Phil Murphy has turned to amid the pandemic in an effort to tamp down election-day crowding — is rooted more in fear than fact.

“It seems that President Trump was concerned about the results,” the senator said. “That now he tries to cast doubt on absentee ballots, but the reality is, in many Republican states, and I’m glad to see at least there are some Republican governors that have pushed back on the concept of ‘why not’ allowing people to vote absentee.”

In New Jersey, mail-in voting tends to benefit Democrats, though this is largely because Democratic party organizations in the state have spent years putting resources into the practice, while Republican ones did not.

Menendez also issued a rebuke of Trump’s proposal to delay the November elections.

“Only the congress of the United States can change the date of the election,” he said.

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