Voters casting absentee ballots in this year’s election must take extra care to make sure their vote is counted, former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told “Outnumbered Overtime” on Tuesday.
Whitaker was reacting to an Associated Press report which warned that the number of rejected absentee ballots in November “is projected to be significantly higher than [in] previous elections” due to a surge in mail-in balloting caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“If ballots are rejected at the same rate as during this year’s primaries, up to three times as many voters in November could be disenfranchised in key battleground states when compared to the last presidential election,” according to the AP, adding, “It could be even more pronounced in some urban areas where Democratic votes are concentrated and ballot rejection rates trended higher during this year’s primaries.”
President Trump reacted to the AP report, tweeting on Tuesday, “Rigged Election!”
“We’re going to see an unprecedented number of absentee ballot requests and voting by mail this year,” Whitaker told host Harris Faulkner. “Some of these states appear prepared and have done it, places like Oregon, that does have mail-in voting, but there are some states, Pennsylvania and several others, that have not seen this level of mail-in voting.”
Whitaker added that the “responsibility is on each voter, if they’re going to vote by mail and vote via absentee ballot … to make sure that they follow each and every step … there’s a lot of reasons why each and every voter needs to be diligent if they’re going to vote absentee to make sure that their vote is counted.”
Faulkner said “there is a lot of talk and reporting that it could take a while for us to know exactly what will happen after Election Day” and asked Whitaker what he foresees.
“I expect the tradition of the United States will continue as it has for hundreds of years, that the results of the election, once they’re duly certified by every state and that the electors are set that they will be accepted,” he said.
“If everyone is above reproach and plays it by the rules that were passed by their legislatures before the election then I think the result should be clear,” added Whitaker who then acknowledged that he is worried about those “on both sides of the aisle” that won’t “do their jobs appropriately.”
“I think what people are concerned about is where you get another Florida recount situation [in 2000] where the rules that are being used are changing and I think that’s a real concern,” he said.
“You look at somewhere, like if absentee ballots by state law are required to be postmarked to the day of the election and somehow there is an extension to that deadline, that could change the result and I think that’s where people are worried that the results could be contested.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.