Trump’s fearmongering backfires: 1.6 million Pennsylvanians register to vote by mail in primaries

Man holding a sign that says "Register early to vote"

Unsplash / Annie Bolin

It looks like President Trump’s dishonest attacks on mail-in voting aren’t working. Over 1.6 million people have requested absentee ballots ahead of Pennsylvania’s primary election on June 2.

To put that in perspective, there are 10,115,851 people age 18 or older in PA. That means that over 15% of the adult population intends to vote remotely. The 1.6 million number was current as of May 20. By now, it’s likely much higher: people were able to request absentee ballots through May 26.

The high number of mail-in votes could mean that election results are delayed. But that’s a small price to pay for a healthier electorate.

Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth, said that she doesn’t expect to see long lines at polling places. With more people at home, it will be easier to implement social distancing measures for in-person voting, keeping voters and poll workers safe.

Trump has claimed without evidence that mail-in voting is “wrought with fraud and abuse.” He’s gone so far as to threaten to keep federal funding from Michigan and Nevada because they’re looking to potentially expand the practice amid fears of a second coronavirus outbreak in November.

If PA is any sign, voters would rather stay safe than listen to Trump’s fearmongering. The mail-in ballot numbers are exceeding all expectations. According to Boockvar, there are counties where the number of absentee ballot applications is greater than the total amount of votes that those counties expected to be cast during the primaries.

That’s democracy in action.

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