This month, he has repeatedly claimed that there are 80 million unsolicited ballots for voters across the country who do not request them and further suggested that there is no way to track mail-in ballots or who gets them Knows
According to the website Factba.se, since the beginning of September alone, the president has mentioned these 80 million ballots at least 20 times, tracking every word spoken or tweeted by Trump and other politicians. Although rhetoric varies slightly from time to time, this claim has become part of their regular arsenal.
During a rally in Nevada over the weekend, he said, “They send 80 million ballots. Where are they going? To whom are they sending them?”
The week before, he Tweeted
, “Sending over 80 bills for people who are not even asking for a ballot is unfair and a total fraud in the making.”
And in an interview with Sean Honity of Fox News the day before, Trump said “We’re sending 80 million ballots. And they’re unsolicited.”
Fact First: Although some sources estimate that approximately 80 million ballots will be presented by mail this year, it is incorrect to suggest to the president that they are all undesirables in some way. In 41 out of 50 states, once voters have to request their ballot by mail before being sent, only a handful of states automatically send mail-in ballots to all registered voters.
It is possible that the president received the number from an August New York Times article that said experts estimate that “about 80 million mail ballots will flood election offices this fall.” However, not all of these ballots will result in voters receiving unsolicited ballots in the mail.
For this election, 35 states, about 2/3 of the nation, give voters the option to vote absent due to coronovirus or without any excuse. In six states, voters must still provide an acceptable excuse, which does not include an epidemic, to vote by mail. These mail-in ballots, which make up an estimated 80 million in total, are not unsolicited.
When the president expresses concern about unsolicited ballots, they are the nine states where every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail for the upcoming election. However, five of those states are already making their election primarily by mail since the epidemic, so voters who register in these states do so knowing that they will likely submit their ballot by mail. Of those nine states, two – California and Vermont – are implementing the practice for the first time, so it is possible that registered voters may not know earlier this year whether they will be sent a vote.
Those nine states and Washington, DC, which are also sending ballots directly, have accounts for more than 43 million voters as of mid-August. The five locations that changed their policies for this election to send ballots to all voters – DC, California, Vermont, Nevada and New Jersey – have at least 29 million registered voters by the latest available count. Based on this data, the number of unsolicited ballots is actually the highest, around half as claimed by the president.
It is also worth noting that even in uncontested instances, states have safeguards to prevent such deception. Trump would mean an anticipated increase in voting by mail in this election.