President Donald Trump on Friday returned to one of his favorite complaints – that mail-in ballots shouldn’t be used in the election, claiming one in five will be frauds.
The president did not cite how he got that number and multiple studies have shown mail-in voting is safe with very little fraud.
Several states have expanded their absentee voting options because of the coronavirus, which Republicans are moving to stop. Republicans argue mail-in voting favors voter groups that tend to vote Democratic.
‘Mail-In Ballot fraud found in many elections. People are just now seeing how bad, dishonest and slow it is. Election results could be delayed for months. No more big election night answers? 1% not even counted in 2016. Ridiculous! Just a formula for RIGGING an Election,’ Trump tweeted.
But he defended his own decision to vote absentee, which he did earlier this year in Florida‘s presidential primary election.
‘Absentee Ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege. Not so with Mail-Ins. Rigged Election!!! 20% fraudulent ballots?,’ he wrote.
President Donald Trump on Friday returned to one of his favorite complaints – that mail-in ballots shouldn’t be used in the election
Vice President Mike Pence, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and other members of the administration have also voted absentee in several elections.
Polls have shown most Americans – including Republicans – favor absentee voting as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
In the event of extenuating circumstances, like traveling for work during the time of an election or being bed-ridden, voters in most states can apply for absentee ballots to cast their vote by mail ahead of the election date.
There are five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington – that already hold their elections by mail-in voting.
Democrats have been pushing for a measure to allow voters the option to cast their ballots remotely, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking Congress to allocate up to $4 billion to help states improve their capacity for mail-in voting.
Studies have also shown there is very little election fraud in the United States.
The conservative Heritage Foundation found only eight cases of voter fraud in Wisconsin in the past five years. The most recent case was in 2017.
In it, Troy Schiller pleaded guilty to voting twice in the 2016 primary election, once in his hometown of Dexter, and once in nearby Pittsville, because he ‘got wrapped up in too much talk radio.’
Long lines have plagued several states during their primary elections the past few months. The number of polling places have been limited because of a shortage of workers due to the virus. Social distancing measures also mean the voting process takes longer.
In Georgia’s June primary, voters waited in line for hours without being able to cast a ballot as a shortage of poll workers and social-distancing precautions caused by the coronavirus contributed to the problem. Some precincts were closed due to lack of election officials available to work and official limited the number of people allowed into the ones open to prevent the virus from spreading.
Voters took to Twitter to post photos of the long lines and point out the polling places that hadn’t opened as scheduled at 7 a.m. Technical issues with the new voting system – which combines touchscreens with scanned paper ballots in races for president, Senate and dozens of other contests – brought voting to a stand still.
Voters wait in line in Fulton County in Georgia’s primary election on Tuesday
Voters took to Twitter to point out voting problems in the state’s election
Voters observe social distancing measures, which contributed to the long voting lines in Georgia
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms encouraged voters to remain in line and let their vote be counted
A voter reads a book while waiting in line to vote in a line stretched around the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta
Officials ran out of provisional ballots to give to voters. One polling place in Atlanta only had 20 provisional ballots to distribute.
Some voters waited in line over three hours and still hadn’t been able to cast their vote. Others had to leave without voting or obtaining a provision ballot. Some voters said they joined the lines after requesting mail-in ballots that never arrived.
One state lawmaker, Rep. William Boddie of Atlanta, said there was ‘a complete meltdown’ in the state’s biggest city.
The reports out of the state don’t bode well for November, when the state will be in play during the presidential election.
Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, told The New York Times she had 84 text messages reporting voting problems within 10 minutes of the polls opening at 7 a.m.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, called for an investigation into the voting problems.
‘The legislative branch of government has an obligation to go beyond the mutual finger-pointing and get to the truth and the real reasons underlying these frustrations and concerns,’ he said.
Georgia’s Secretary of State office blamed poorly trained poll workers on the delays.
‘We have reports of poll workers not understanding setup or how to operate voting equipment. While these are unfortunate, they are not issues of the equipment but a function of counties engaging in poor planning, limited training and failure of leadership,’ Statewide Voting Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling said in a statement.
In May President Trump threatened to hold federal funds from states like Michigan, which was mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters.
Republicans have long complained about ‘ballot harvesting’ – their term for the process where someone (usually a party volunteer) collects absentee ballots from a group of people and mails them for them. Democrats call it ballot collecting.