Smucker: Mail-in voting safe, secure in York and Lancaster counties

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker speaks during a debate with challenger Jess King at Eastern York High School Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The two are running for the 11th Congressional District seat. The event was sponsored by WGAL-TV and the York County Economic Alliance. Bill Kalina photo

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker on Monday urged his constituents in the 11th Congressional District to vote by mail despite President Donald Trump's repeated claims that doing so would be a "disaster" and constitute an attempt to steal the election.

Speaking during a meeting with The York Dispatch editorial board, the Lancaster Republican stressed that York and Lancaster counties will have a fair election on Nov. 3, regardless of how people cast their votes. 

“I’m confident (the elections) are going to be conducted fairly here,” Smucker said. “I encourage people to use the mail-in ballot.”

It was the second time in the past week where Smucker appeared to break with the Republican president.

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Trump this past week refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose the presidential election. He then doubled down on the repeated claim, saying without evidence, that by mail-in ballots will lead to widespread voter fraud.

The president would only commit to a "continuation" of his presidency following the election and called for officials to "get rid of the (mail-in) ballots."

The unprecedented comments by a sitting U.S. President received strong condemnation from Democrats. Many of Trump's GOP allies, too, pushed back against his statements.

Smucker and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, joined colleagues such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., in rebuffing Trump's unwillingness to pledge that he would accept the results if he were to lose.

Smucker will face Democratic challenger Sarah Hammond on Nov. 3.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral college votes made national headlines after The Atlantic last week reported the state GOP was mulling the appointment of presidential electors to vote in favor of Trump, even if he were to lose the state popular vote to Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

What would be a notable break from tradition, state Republican Chairperson Lawrence Tabas said he had been in talks with the Trump campaign over bypassing the popular vote, citing concerns with the validity of ballots.

"I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it, too,” Tabas told the magazine. “I just don’t think this is the right time for me to be discussing those strategies and approaches, but (direct appointment of electors) is one of the options.”

Smucker, however, on Monday said he was neither party to nor aware of any such conversations. State party leaders have said the same, disputing The Atlantic's reporting and claiming Tabas' remarks were taken out of context.

"I think that's a fairly remote possibility where we reach the point where something like that is necessary," Smucker said.

Trump has repeatedly, without evidence, claimed voting by mail will lead to widespread voter fraud and disproportionately benefit Democrats. In Pennsylvania, 2020 marks the first presidential election in which residents can vote by mail without justification.

But the president's assertions are unfounded when looking at the history of states already using the system, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

An April study by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research also debunked the claim that either party would reap notable benefits from an increase in mail-in voting.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.