Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, the team of one Republican Congressional candidate in Illinois, who’s apparently eager for donations, has been caught plagiarizing the Chicago Tribune. The team of candidate Jeanne Ives, who’s a former member of the Illinois state House, included a diatribe against voting by mail in their partially plagiarized fundraising email, in which they wrote that expanding vote by mail options supported a supposedly “radical” agenda that would lead to a loss of something fundamental about the United States. To be clear, almost three dozen states already offer widely available vote-by-mail — and, by all appearances, they are still part of the wider U.S. (obviously).
Ives’s communication director Kathleen Murphy took responsibility for the plagiarism, which took the form of an uncredited selection in the fundraising email from a Chicago Tribune article about voting by mail.
‘The line (that) was included is my fault, not Jeanne’s. I am the director of communication for the campaign, the content of an email is my responsibility. That should have been cited — absolutely. Information gets pulled from different sources, and it was an oversight. We will review emails more carefully going forward.’
The uncredited Chicago Tribune selection read:
‘Even advocates acknowledge the need to allow people — among them those who don’t trust the post office — to show up at a polling place to cast their vote. There are also the added costs of printing, mailing, securing and counting mail-in ballots, as well as allowing for drop-off boxes for those who don’t believe their vote will be delivered in time.’
It’s important to note — none of that indicates that voting by mail constitutes some kind of radical agenda, as Ives’s team claims in the overall email and apparently hopes to use the selection as support for.
The observation from the paper is simply that there would need to be some contingencies built into a voting by mail system to allow for at least some other options. Allowing for contingencies and planning for the future do not constitute some kind of nefarious plot against conservatives, or “patriots,” or Republicans, or whatever nonsense line the right happens to be running with this week.
Ives’s fundraising email stated:
‘While I understand the concerns about the impact of COVID-19, we can’t lose who we are as a country in the process. All Americans deserve to know that the results of our elections are legitimate and we cannot compromise the integrity of our elections.’
The idea that voting by mail would automatically compromise the integrity of U.S. elections is, quite simply, false, and it’s rooted in basic ignorance, as if they have not turned on a non-Fox news broadcast in years but want to lead the carrying out of public policy anyway.
People already vote by mail across the country — Donald Trump even did within recent months in the Florida Republican primary — and expanding vote by mail options could be crucial for allowing elections to proceed even amidst a deadly community-transmitted pandemic virus like the U.S. is currently experiencing.