President Donald Trump on Friday resurrected a rant against mail-in voting while defending absentee voting — a distinction that baffles some experts who contend both systems are essentially the same.
In a series of tweets Friday morning, Trump reiterated his claim that mail-in ballots have resulted in voter fraud.
"Mail-In Ballot fraud found in many elections. People are just now seeing how bad, dishonest and slow it is. Election results could be delayed for months. No more big election night answers? 1% not even counted in 2016. Ridiculous! Just a formula for RIGGING an Election," the president wrote.
"Absentee Ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege. Not so with Mail-Ins. Rigged Election!!! 20% fraudulent ballots?"
Last month, Attorney General William Barr made a similar claim during an interview on Fox News ‘ “Sunday Morning Futures,” when the nation’s top prosecutor said vote-by-mail "absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud."
“Nonsense,” one expert told USA Today after Barr’s June 21 interview.
"It doesn't make any sense as an attack against our election system," Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program for the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York School of Law, told the news outlet.
"It would be too easy to catch. You just wouldn't be able to do it. There's obviously other ways – cyber warfare – of attacking election infrastructure. I think we have to be worried about them. But forging mail ballots is not a serious threat."
Another expert, David Becker, founder of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research. told CNN on Friday that “no-excuse mail voting or absentee voting -- whatever you call it -- is essentially the same thing.”
"You request a ballot, you get a ballot, you vote, you send it in, and there are protections in place. It doesn't matter whether you call it mail voting or absentee voting. It's the same thing."
Trump’s concern that 20% of the votes would be "fraudulent ballots” would mean that based on turnout in past presidential elections, at least 20 million votes would be fraudulent — a near-impossible task to pull off, according to CNN.
Polls have shown most Americans - including Republicans - favor absentee voting as the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Daily Mail reported.
Five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington – already hold their elections by mail-in voting, the news outlet noted. In May Trump threatened to hold federal funds from states like Michigan, which was mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters.
The conservative Heritage Foundation found only eight cases of voter fraud in Wisconsin in the past five years. The most recent case was in 2017.
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