Donald Trump pushed back against the idea of allowing mail-in ballots for the 2020 presidential election if the coronavirus is still impacting the nation — a stance that critics note comes just weeks after the president used his own mail-in ballot to vote in the Florida primary.
As NPR noted, voting rights groups have been calling for the government to make mail voting more widely available in November to avoid people having to travel to polls amid the potential spread of the virus. Trump has been opposed to the idea, saying at Tuesday’s daily White House coronavirus briefing that he believes they are used in election fraud.
“Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters” Trump said, repeating a claim that he has made over the course of the last week. “They’re fraudulent in many cases,” he added.
Trump was responding to a question about voting in Wisconsin, which took place on Tuesday after the Supreme Court overruled an absentee-ballot extension that would have given voters an extra week to turn in their ballots. A video showed long lines and reports noted that some voters had to wait for hours to cast their votes.
As MSNBC reported, Trump was later pressed by a reporter about why he requested his own mail-in ballot for the Florida primary last month, which he defended by saying that he was not in the state at the time. A longtime Manhattan resident, Trump switched his residency to Florida late last year.
Trump had garnered controversy last week after pushing back against Democratic-led efforts to expand voting, saying that these would only seem to favor Democrats. As Salon noted, Trump appeared on Fox & Friends and spoke out against efforts to include expanded voter protections in the coronavirus relief bill.
“The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump said of efforts to expand voting.
“They had things—levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
"The mail ballots are corrupt in my opinion," says Trump, who requested a mail ballot to vote in last month's Florida primary.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 7, 2020
As NPR noted, election experts say there may be a slightly increased chance of fraud with mail-in voting, though they say it can still be done safely and securely. The most notable recent case of such fraud came from North Carolina, where a Republican operative was hit with felony charges after local authorities said he improperly collected and potentially tampered with ballots in a race the Republican won by a narrow margin. The race ultimately had to be re-run, with a new Republican candidate winning by a narrow margin.