Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told supporters Wednesday night his campaign assembled a team of 600 lawyers to fight against efforts he expects from President Donald Trump to limit voter participation in the upcoming election.
The former vice president made the remark when asked at a fundraiser what he planned to do to address the “very real concern” that the president would try to suppress the vote.
“Well, first of all, to continue to shout from the rooftops: ‘Be careful — he’s coming,'” Biden replied.
Biden, who has previously said he fears Trump will try to “steal” the election, said Trump and Republicans are pursuing a “systematic program on vote suppression” that could pose a serious obstacle amid the coronavirus outbreak
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“So here’s what we’re doing, we’re continuing to fight any effort to exploit the pandemic for political purposes, support the countless state and local officials working like hell to make voting safe and accessible for citizens, especially the most vulnerable, or call out local rules that don’t adequately ensure access to vote,” Biden said.
The team of 600 lawyers, along with 10,000 volunteers, would be in every state to figure out if any “chicanery is likely to take place.”
Biden predicted it would be “very, very, very difficult” to stave off the objections he expects Trump to make about mail-in-voting. The president has posted many tweets claiming mailed-in ballots are ripe for fraud and abuse.
“The fact is that this is a fella who is literally trying to take away the funding for the post office so they can’t deliver the ballots. Not a joke,” Biden said. He pointed out that five states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail, and that there is bipartisan agreement that a shift toward absentee ballots makes sense in this election.
“Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history – unless this stupidity is ended. We voted during World War One & World War Two with no problem, but now they are using Covid in order to cheat by using Mail-Ins,” Trump tweeted on June 22.
But experts dispute Trump’s claims about vote-by-mail. A study by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at the New York School of Law found incidents of overall voter fraud “extraordinarily rare.” Another study found that despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, there is no evidence Democrats have an advantage with mail-in ballots.
Trump has also said foreign nations could print off “millions” of ballots and mail them in. Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at the Brennan Center, called that claim “nonsense.”
Justin Clark, senior counsel for the Trump campaign, accused Biden of “lying and fear mongering” with his remarks about the election.
“Democrats are the ones trying to fundamentally change how we vote. They are inserting chaos and confusion into our voting process because it is the only way they can win,” Clark said in a statement. “The President is committed to fair and free elections and ensuring everyone who is eligible to vote, gets their vote counted.”
Biden made it clear on Wednesday that he will continue to denounce Trump’s opposition to vote-by-mail as a form of voter suppression and he encouraged supporters “to holler at the top of our lungs” if they see any efforts to infringe on voting rights in their state.
“It’s going to be hard. And if it’s close – watch out,” he said.
Contributing: Joey Garrison
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