Aug 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNC chair Tom Perez: Americans should have more time to vote

Axios' Mike Allen and Tom Perez in a split screen

Axios' co-founder Mike Allen and DNC chair Tom Perez. Photo: Axios

The results of the 2020 presidential contest might be delayed beyond the day after Election Day, depending on how quickly each state counts absentee ballots, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said Wednesday at an Axios virtual event.

What he's saying: Perez stressed that delays are "a small price to pay for ensuring that everybody can participate." Americans should have more time to vote as they juggle a pandemic on top of responsibilities at work and at home, he said.

Driving the news: The U.S. Postal Service alerted 46 states and Washington, D.C., at the end of July that it could not ensure general election ballots sent by mail would arrive in time to be counted.

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said on Tuesday that he would halt operational changes and cost-cutting to the USPS until after the 2020 election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail."
  • However, Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that DeJoy revealed the USPS has no intention of replacing the sorting machines, mailboxes and other mail infrastructure that has already been removed.

The big picture: Perez said the DNC is litigating and organizing "to make sure the mail system is able to do its job."

  • "Voter protection is a staple in what we're doing here in the run-up to November. We've never had a more robust voter protection operation than we do now. And the 'we' in that sentence is the Biden campaign, the DNC, our partners in the Democratic ecosystem."
  • "And the reason for this is that Donald Trump has been very, very clear. 'I'm gonna try to make it harder for eligible people to vote.' They don't want everyone to vote. They want less people to vote. That's their only formula for success, is suppressing the vote."

On the potential for voter fraud, Perez pointed to his work as a Justice Department assistant attorney general in a case involving Texas voter ID laws: "You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than you do to find a case of voter fraud in the record that we were looking at."

Go deeper: When and how to vote in all 50 states

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