Donald Trump has gone on to suggest that the fear of hiring Covid-19 is not a sufficient excuse for not appearing at the polls, and that Americans should only be able to vote by mail in limited circumstances.
Absentee ballots are fine. A person has to go through a process to obtain and use them. Voting by mail, on the other hand, will lead to the most corrupt election in the history of the United States. Bad things happen with Mail-Ins. Just look at the special elections in Patterson, NJ, 19% of the ballots are FRAUD!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
Trump is unfairly confusing vote without excuse by mail, a system where anyone can request a ballot, and universal voting by mail, a system where all registered voters receive a ballot by mail. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia allow anyone to request an absentee ballot, but only five have a universal vote by mail.
While fraud is extremely rare in a vote by mail, the New Jersey case that Trump referred to occurred in a local election held entirely by mail and was caught while the ballots were counted.
The president and his campaign have repeatedly tried to make a false distinction as part of an effort to explain why Trump and many other administration officials have voted by mail, despite their strong opposition to the practice.
Trump has argued that it was acceptable for him to vote “absentee” in Florida in March because he was out of state during the primary election and could not appear to vote in person.
Pressing on Trump’s mail-in voting history during a 60-minute Sunday interview, Justin Clark, a senior adviser to the president’s campaign, said: “The president votes in absentia. That’s different. If he’s away, he’s sick. , is out of state, whatever, there must be a mechanism by which people can cast their vote. “
That distinction is not precise. Like 33 other states, Florida does not require an excuse to vote by mail. In Florida, all voters essentially go through the same process to request an absentee ballot, regardless of the reason they want to vote by mail. Florida itself describes its system as “vote by mail” and does not use the term “absentee” on the state website that explains the process.
“In Florida, we refer to this method as vote-by-mail,” said Mark Ard, spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee.
“Florida changed the absent word in our law to say vote by mail. There is no question that voting by mail in Florida is an absence or a synonym, “said Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County, Florida.” The envelopes are the same, the ballots are the same, everything is identical now whether you’re voting absentee or voting by mail. “
He added: “In Florida, if you want to call it a vote by mail or if you want to vote absentee, you must request to receive the ballot.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
The president’s statement comes amid a nationwide debate over how easy it should be to vote by mail amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which the president has repeatedly downplayed. Sixteen states require an excuse to vote by mail, and there is a push to make concern about hiring Covid-19 an acceptable excuse.
Some states, such as New York and Kentucky, have been willing to waive their excuse requirement for the primary, while other states, such as Texas, have declined. In Kentucky, the state had record participation after dropping its requirement to provide an excuse to vote by mail during elementary school.
It is still unclear whether Kentucky and the other states that generally require an excuse to vote by mail will be willing to make similar adjustments for the November general election.
“Mr. President, you still have no idea what you are talking about,” tweeted Amber McReynolds, a former Denver election official who is now the executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute.
“It would make sense for you and your advisers to visit an election office or seek expert advice from those of us who have actually made an election.”