On Monday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to make a claim that foreign countries would manufacture the mail-in ballots used for the upcoming presidential election. This marked his latest attack on attempts to expand vote-by-mail for residents impacted by the coronavirus.
Just hours later, a report revealed that both Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, had voted by mail in the Indiana primary, and used an old address to do so. As Business Insider reported, the pair used an address in Indiana that they have not lived in since 2016 — the Indiana governor’s mansion — for the April 13 Republican primary.
RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
The form of voting has reportedly become a regular practice for the vice president. A report from The New York Times noted that Pence also voted by absentee ballot for the Republican primary and general election in 2018.
Business Insider wrote that it was legal for them to vote from the address since they have not registered to vote in Washington, D.C. However, the move was seen by critics as a blow to Trump’s argument that mail-in voting is ripe for fraud and should not be used.
This is the latest instance of a person in the White House voting by mail despite Trump’s attacks on the practice. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has frequently defended the president’s attacks on mail-in voting as journalists have pressed her for evidence of his claims of fraud, has voted by mail for the last 10 years.
Trump himself voted by mail for the Florida Republican primary this year — a practice he defended as justified as he was living out of state at the time. Many other top White House officials and advisers have voted by mail as well.
The president has also been called out for making supposedly unfounded claims of fraud, including a tweet that was hit with the first-ever fact check from Twitter, which included a link to Twitter-endorsed facts about mail-in voting.
So Trump, Ivanka, Jared, Kayleigh, Kellyanne, Pence, and Ronna McDaniel all voted by mail
— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 22, 2020
The claim that both Mike and Karen Pence had voted by mail drew new criticism for Trump, with critics claiming that the president does not want expanded voting simply because he needs a low turnout in order to win re-election. Others pointed out that mail-in voting has gone smoothly for many decades, including for members of the military stationed overseas.
A number of states have already moved to expand mail-in voting for the November elections, aiming to reduce in-person voting and protect voters from exposure and possible spread of the coronavirus.