Amid his escalating attacks on the idea of expanding mail-in voting for the November election, Donald Trump said on Friday that he still plans to vote by mail. As Business Insider reported, Trump told reporters that he would vote as a Florida resident via an absentee ballot, which he called “great.”
In his remarks to reporters, Trump made what Business Insider called a “false distinction” between absentee and mail-in votes, which many of the president’s critics have pointed out are the same thing. As many states have sought to expand vote by mail in order to keep voters from having to go to crowded polling stations during a global pandemic, Trump has grown increasingly critical and made a series of unfounded claims that vote-by-mail is rife with fraud.
Numerous experts have said that this type of balloting is safe. Many states have implemented it for years and U.S. service members stationed overseas have long used the postal service to cast ballots in presidential elections. Some see the attacks as a way of undermining the legitimacy of the final tallies if Trump were to lose.
The statement came after Trump floated the idea of pushing back the date of the presidential election indefinitely, claiming that the increase in Americans mailing in their votes would lead to an uncertain outcome. As many experts noted, he has no power to move the date that Americans vote.
Trump has been called out in the past for attacking absentee ballots when he uses them himself, which critics have seen as hypocritical. The president voted in the Florida Republican primary via absentee ballot. A number of top White House officials have used them as well, including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has voted by mail 11 times over the course of the last 10 years.
Both she and Trump have defended their decision to do so, claiming that sending a ballot in via the postal service is legitimate for those unable to return home to do so in person.
“Absentee voting has the word absent in it for a reason,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. “It means you’re absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person. President Trump is against the Democrat plan to politicize the coronavirus and expand mass mail-in voting without a reason, which has a high propensity for voter fraud. This is a simple distinction that the media fails to grasp.”