‘White Wave’ of Mail-In Ballots Slammed Oz, Other Republicans

PHILADELPHIACall it “the White Wave.” A flood of white envelopes containing mail-in ballots lofted Democrat candidates to victories in several key Nov. 8 races.

Case in point: Democrat John Fetterman will occupy Pennsylvania’s coveted U.S. Senate seat instead of Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz.

In that race—and several others—mail-in ballots acted as a breaker against the “Red Wave” of wins that Republican leaders had hoped would wash across the nation at a time when Congress and the White House are both Democrat-controlled.

The lopsided numbers in the Fetterman-Oz race starkly reveal how key the mail-in segment of the electorate has become despite Republicans’ emphasis on in-person voting.

Based on unofficial tallies available as of Nov. 9, Oz drew 500,000 more voters to visit the polls on Election Day than Fetterman did. But that margin wasn’t enough.

Fetterman’s mail-in total exceeded 868,000quadruple Oz’s total in that column. The result: a 655,000-vote difference in Fetterman’s favor.

Mail-in Pros and Cons

Jacob Neiheisel, professor of political science at the University at Buffalo, told The Epoch Times in a Nov. 9 interview that it appears to be a tactical mistake to encourage one method of voting while discouraging others.

“You want your supporters to use anything they can,” he said. “That’s Election Day voting, early voting, absentee … whatever tool is most effective for you.”

He thinks that might help deliver more Republican victories and counteract the Democrats’ effective use of mail-in voting campaigns.

However, Neiheisel harbors concerns about early voting methods, such as mailing in ballots or voting in person weeks ahead of Election Day.

While he thinks it’s great to make it easy for citizens to exercise their right to vote, Neiheisel worries about pitfalls.

“What happens if the candidate dies before election day? What happens if new information comes in that might have changed your mind?” he asked.

Fetterman, for example, may have benefited from votes that were mailed before voters could see his Oct. 25 debate with Oz. Pennsylvania rules vary by county, but some places allow voters to submit absentee ballots and mail-ins up to 50 days prior to an election.

That means many votes were cast well before Fetterman stammered his way through the showdown, laying bare the apparent effects of the stroke he suffered in May and raising questions about whether his health could withstand the rigors of a U.S. Senate job.

However, early voters “tend to be super-engaged,” and very partisan, Neiheisel said, so it’s likely that few of them would wish they could change their already-submitted choices.

Many Reasons for Victories, Defeats

Although the mail-in ballots certainly were a major factor in Oz’s defeat, Neiheisel said campaign successes and failures are always multifaceted. He noted that Fetterman appeared to use social media more effectively than Oz did.

Fetterman used Twitter and other platforms to neutralize Oz’s attacks, and also “painted Oz as an outsider from the get-go,” Neiheisel said, aggravating voters who resented the notion of sending “a New Jersey guy” to represent the Keystone State in the U.S. Senate.

Fetterman is a lifelong Pennsylvanian and former small-town mayor before he took on his current role as lieutenant governor. He created feelings of connectedness with voters by using lingo that might be called “Pittsburghese.”

On his Twitter feed, Fetterman repeatedly referred to supporters as “yinz,” a Pittsburgh version of the folksy Southern expression, “y’all.”

Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, told The Epoch Times that even before former President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders expressed distrust in the security of mail-in balloting, Republican voters seem to have preferred in-person voting.

He thinks part of the Republican emphasis on getting voters to show up at the polls on Election Day reflects their acknowledgment of a longtime reality—”Republicans know that they don’t generally do that well” with absentee and mail-in balloting, Bullock said.

“For whatever reason, Republican voters don’t trust anything other than showing up in person.”

It remains to be seen whether GOP leaders will try to change that.

From The Epoch Times

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