National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week there is “no reason” Americans can’t vote in person for the 2020 presidential election, so long as voters follow proper social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” Fauci told ABC News this week. “If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why shouldn’t be able to do that.”
Fauci added that individuals who are “compromised physically or otherwise” and who are not interested in physically going to the polls on Election Day, can use mail-in voting.
But Fauci doubled-down, saying “there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote in person or otherwise.”
Fauci, in April, during the early stages of the pandemic, said he could not “guarantee” that it would be safe to physically vote.
“I hope so,” Fauci told CNN in April. “I can’t guarantee it.”
Fauci’s comments come amid the mail-in voting battle — with President Trump and Republicans for months warning that the practice would cause widespread voter fraud, and with Democrats saying the practice is a secure way to cast ballots.
The president and the Republican National Committee have filed lawsuits in several states to hit back against efforts by Democrats to overhaul voting laws in response to the pandemic.
Trump, during an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo this week, slammed universal mail-in voting, warning of “the greatest fraud in history.”
The president went on to say that “there is nothing wrong with getting out and voting” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“They voted in World War I and in World War II,” Trump said. “They should have voter ID because Democrats scammed the system.”
But Biden campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates on Thursday called the practice safe.
“The President of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon,” said Bates, referring to the U.S. Postal Service, “cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years — a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Even Donald Trump’s own campaign has endorsed voting by mail and his own administration has conclusively refuted his wild-eyed conspiracy theories about the most secure form of voting,” Bates continued.
He added: “This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who’s terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he’s done everything in his power to escape for months — responsibility for his own actions.”
Democrats, have been pushing back against the claims by Trump and the GOP for months, say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.