Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Wednesday evening insisted that voting by mail is secure and said he hopes that more states would implement more reliable vote-by-mail procedures.
In a conversation with NAACP President Derrick Johnson and journalist April Ryan, Romney emphasized that voting by mail is secure.
“I, for one, believe that vote by mail is a more secure system because if we think there’s been voter fraud or machines have been tampered with, we can always go back to the paper copy, we can compare signatures, we can talk to the person to see if they actually voted, we can find out if they are dead or alive,” Romney said. “All these things are available if we have a ballot with a name on it.”
He said the majority of voters in Utah vote by mail and his state has not had issues with voter fraud.
“I now live in Utah and have for a decade. In Utah, we have vote by mail. And the great majority of our people—I’ll bet it’s close to 90 percent—vote by mail. And let me tell you, it’s very convenient,” Romney said. “We haven’t had problems with voter fraud. And I think states would be wise to put in a program like that.”
Romney added that in Utah, “ballots are mailed out to homes based upon registered voters and, of course, registered addresses,” noting that voters “sign a document” and “that signature will be compared with the signature on file.”
Though he insisted that he does not want to see a federal takeover of the voting system, Romney also said he was bothered that some voters have to stand in mile-long lines just to vote.
“One thing that really concerns me is when I see videos on my TV that show that in certain places, there are lines a mile long and those tend to be places where minority communities are voting. And in other places there’s no line at all,” Romney said. “Something tells me that’s not right. I know that’s not right. And if state officials are putting up with that kind of discrimination and that type of voter suppression, there’s gotta be oversight of that.”
He said the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) proposed a Voting Rights Act to make sure that courts will oversee such scenarios, and Romney said there must be oversight “where there is clear evidence of an effort to deny certain people the right to east open access to vote.”
Romney said “the right to vote is fundamental to democracy” and if people are “trying to mess that up,” then “courts really need to step in” and stop the suppression efforts.
He acknowledged that “it may be difficult” for other states to put in a “highly reliable system by November,” but he said “the COVID crisis has made” vote-by-mail programs a priority for many states.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll see improvements and more voting by mail by November,” Romney said.
Romney also said that voting by mail is very unlikely to be something that is “mandated” by Washington because it takes a “long” and “laborious” process, by design, to pass significant laws. He said the action has to be at the state level and urged voters to get answers from their secretaries of state about vote-by-mail procedures.