By Amy Gamm September 3, 2021 at 8:03am
Former President Donald Trump said that all states should toss their voting machines and return to paper ballots to restore American confidence in elections.
Trump made the statement in an exclusive two-hour interview with Breitbart News at his golf club last week. Other reforms he endorsed included mandatory voter ID and eliminating both early voting and mail-in ballots.
“Voter ID is very important,” Trump told Breitbart. “I think going to paper ballots would be the best thing if you want to have accurate elections. Countries that do paper ballots — solidly watched paper ballots — those are the ones that work.”
“And stop the mail-in ballots unless it’s for military and overseas or very sick people, people that just can’t vote — and they have to have some kind of a real excuse. I think paper ballots, same-day voting would be great. Those things, you’d straighten out your elections.”
Germany, gearing up for its federal election on Sept. 26, doesn’t use voting machines to count votes. But it does adhere to Trump’s “solidly watched paper ballots” requirement.
“We have no voting machines,” Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel told German news outlet Deutsche Welle in July. “At the end of the day, it’s the ballot paper that gets counted.” Thiel, who oversees Germany’s elections, called his country’s method of tabulating ballots “old school.”
Likewise, Canada maintains a policy of hand-counted paper ballots, making it public last year.
Elections Canada does not use Dominion Voting Systems. We use paper ballots counted by hand in front of scrutineers and have never used voting machines or electronic tabulators to count votes in our 100-year history. #CdnPoli pic.twitter.com/dp7ZiB84ql
— Elections Canada (@ElectionsCan_E) November 16, 2020
A recent paper, published by the nonpartisan election watchdog group Citizens for Voting Integrity New York, identified several other countries besides Germany and Canada that opt for paper and hand-counting systems over voting machines.
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These included the U.K., Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Finland, Belgium and Ireland among others.
The Pew Research Center confirmed this, determining that paper ballots are the most common way to vote by far. Only 10 percent of the world’s countries and territories vote by electronic voting machines.
Trump didn’t specify in the interview with Breitbart whether he endorses counting ballots by hand or some sort of vote-counting system other than Dominion Voting Systems.
Trump’s views about mail-in ballots are in line with most nations around the globe.
According to a 2020 study, 74 percent of European countries ban mail-in absentee ballots for citizens living within their borders. Some, like the Czech Republic and Greece, don’t allow absentee ballots at all. Japan limits mail-in voting only to those who obtain special certificates verifying disability. Mexico bans mail-in absentee ballots except for citizens living abroad who have requested them at least six months in advance.
Mailed-in absentee ballots and universal mail-in ballots are not the same thing. Absentee ballots require voters to specifically request their ballots and follow the rules to obtain them within the required time allotted before an election. Universal mail-in ballots are automatically sent to every registered voter whether they were requested or not.
Trump discussed his opposition to universal mail-in ballots with Breitbart when he referred to a recent report’s conclusion that 15 million mailed ballots went unaccounted for in the 2020 election.
Trump argued that the sheer volume of these questionable ballots would have altered the course of history. “That’s the election right there,” he said.
Trump’s ideas about “same-day voting” aren’t out of step with the world’s practices either. Forty-three out of the 50 states in the U.S. currently allow some form of in-person early voting. Yet, 68 percent of European countries ban it. Only between 33 and 35 percent of African and Asian nations allow it.
Despite these facts, many progressives are wanting to push back voting days earlier and earlier:
It’s no secret – we are ALL about our partners at Vote Early Day. That’s because, without them, we are just another day on the calendar. But together, we are creating a movement to #VoteEarly in every election across the country. pic.twitter.com/Eh2Djx2JoB
— Vote Early Day (@voteearlyday) September 2, 2021
Trump discussed some of the states that have advanced election reforms across the country, particularly praising Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is poised to sign the state’s voting reform bill into law.
Breitbart reported Trump emphasized in the interview the need for the Republican Party to focus not just on the future with voting reforms, but also on exposing the fraud that he believes happened last year.
“The single biggest topic for the Republican Party is the voter fraud of 2020 — not 2022, not 2024,” Trump said. “You’ll never get to 2024, you’ll never get to 2022.”