The VBM Fight at the Core of the GOP


There seems to be some division among Republicans about voting.

And you have to wonder if Republicans will be the ones who get burned.

All this is about voting-by-mail, which many Republicans in New Jersey and elsewhere hate. Leading the opposition nationally is none other than the president himself. His campaign and New Jersey Republicans have sued to stop the state’s election plan. Opponents against vote-by-mail rallied a few weeks ago in Middletown, which not incidentally, is where Gov. Phil Murphy lives. The group apparently had so much fun, they want to do it again.

Another rally is planned at Bodman Park on Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m with the big event being a march to the governor’s house. There will be speakers, a food truck and attendees are asked to bring foghorns.

It all sounds quite festive, but elsewhere in New Jersey, some on the right are taking a strikingly different approach.

Laura Ali, the chair of the Morris County Republican Committee, recently sent out a missive telling the party base to stop fighting and agonizing about vote-by-mail. In other words, just do it.

And just last Saturday at a Trump rally in Parsippany, attendees were given a brief course on voting-by-mail and told that they can track their ballots online.

Vote-by-mail was framed as something Democrats invented to help themselves.  So, one of the speakers dreamed about Republicans beating the Dems at their own game.

One thing we must mention is that the Nov. 3 election is not strictly vote-by-mail. Those who don’t want to use the Post Office can drop their ballot in a lock-box – many towns will have one – bring it to their polling place on election day or vote in person on election day. Those options seem to get lost in the debate. An in-person vote will be a “provisional” vote, but that’s only to prevent people from voting-by-mail and then showing up in person.

Voting by mail intrinsically favors no one. But we have seen that here in Jersey, Democrats do it better, which is the real reason Republicans oppose it.

But here’s the larger point.

What’s better for Republicans – encouraging supporters to vote in a system as it exists, or casting aspersions upon that very system? A logical consequence of Republicans continuing to fight vote-by-mail could be suppressing the Republican vote. If someone thinks their vote will not be counted properly, why bother? How is that going to help Republican candidates?

I made that observation via email to one of the organizers of the upcoming rally. I used the Morris approach as an example.

Doreen Wademan replied that she disagreed with the premise that it would be preferable for Republicans to just concentrate on voting.

“We are permitted to do everything else here in N.J., so there is no reason we can not have our voting booth,” she said.

Holding Murphy accountable for raising taxes and business failings, she said, “Taking away our voting booth is crossing the line.”

O.K. Let’s not quibble with the rhetoric.

Nonetheless, one gets the feeling that the group most amused about GOP anguish over the Nov. 3 voting system are Democrats.

They have no qualms about voting-by-mail.

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One response to “The VBM Fight at the Core of the GOP”

  1. If I were a GOP chairperson, I would be concentrating on devising a strategy on how to win a VBM campaign instead of wasting time yammering about it. There are many aspects to a VBM campaign and fraud prevention of which these modern-day “pols” have no clue. The Dems still have enough old school operatives to kick the GOP’s butt.

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