To the Editor:

Myths, like old soldiers, die hard. To wit: trickle down economics, competition among health insurance companies lowering costs and, revived by Connecticut Sen. Eric Berthel and a coalition of GOP politicians, voter fraud.

Berthel et al.’s lawsuit against Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s expansion of absentee ballots to include frontline workers, older adults and those with comorbidities claims this will open up the voting system to fraud.

Fraud, schmaud. Has Berthel forgotten that Kris Kobach headed a federal commission to track corruption in voting and that, coming up essentially empty-handed, the commission was shut down in 2018? That the states have reported no significant voter fraud?

In fact directors of the MIT Election Data & Science Lab and the National Vote at Home Institute, after analyzing national voting over 20 years, found a fraud rate of 0.00006%.

In the face of nearly 48,000 Covid-19 cases and over 4,000 deaths in Connecticut as of this writing, and with no idea whether Covid cases will surge in the fall, I find it deeply troubling that Berthel would have us — especially the vulnerable — imperil our health, or very lives, by standing in line indoors because of his concern about a mythical, virtually nonexistent problem.

Is he following Trump’s MO to suppress voting? Berthel likely knows more Democrats believe in the science of infection dynamics than do Republicans, so if risks of and concerns about catching the virus aren’t accepted as reasons for legitimating an absentee ballot, fewer Democrats than Republicans might very well not chance going to the polls.

Revealing stats from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, 6.26.20: Believe they’ll get Covid-19 and be hospitalized, D and D-leaning, 64%; R and R-leaning, 35%. Believe they might unknowingly infect others, D/D-leaning, 77%: R/R-leaning, 45%.

Sometimes it takes a crisis for an individual’s ur character to emerge, and what I see in Berthel is an opportunistic conniver privileging party over humanity. Not unlike the occupier of the Oval Office.

 

Sharon Wirt

Southbury

(1) comment

tscrider2

Sharon Wirt makes some important points here. Voting by mail is clearly the easiest and safest way for most people to vote, especially during a pandemic. The Connecticut House of Representatives' bipartisan vote yesterday in support of no-excuse absentee ballot voting will provide a chance to test how well it works and whether the change should be made permanent, possibly with some tweaks.

Mail-in voting is the main target of a right wing attempt to cast doubt on elections,particularly the one coming up in November which they fear their guy will lose. Voting by mail has worked well in several states for years. A recent analysis by The Washington Post found only 372 cases of potential fraud out of roughly 14.6 million ballots cast by mail in 2016 and 2018.

Tom Crider, Southbury

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