Shared from the 5/21/2020 The Denver Post eEdition


Trump attacks Mich., Nev. on mail-in voting

WASHINGTON» President Donald Trump on Wednesday escalated his assault against mail voting, falsely claiming that Michigan and Nevada were engaged in voter fraud and had acted illegally, and threatening to withhold federal funds to those states if they proceed in expanding vote-by-mail efforts.

The president inaccurately accused Michigan of sending mail ballots to its residents. In fact, the secretary of state in Michigan sent applications for mail ballots, as election officials have done in other states, including those led by Republicans. In Nevada, where the Republican secretary of state declared the primary an all mail election, ballots are being sent to voters.

The Twitter posts were the latest in a series of broadsides the president has aimed at a process that has become the primary vehicle for casting ballots in an electoral system transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. As most states largely abandon in-person voting because of health concerns, Trump, along with many of his Republican allies, have launched a series of false attacks to demonize mail voting as fraught with fraud and delivering an inherent advantage to Democrats — despite there being scant evidence for either claim.

Republicans have also recently begun to ramp up a multimillion-dollar initiative to monitor polling places and challenge voters deemed suspicious, efforts that the GOP says are needed to prevent fraud but that Democrats say are intended to suppress turnout in a bid to aid Trump.

“Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election,” the president tweeted Wednesday morning. “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

An hour later he made a similar threat against Nevada, saying the state had created “a great Voter Fraud scenario” and adding, “If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State.”

Trump’s outbursts come as the White House and his re-election campaign are confronting polls showing the president trailing his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, both nationally and in key swing states.

Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, quickly clarified Wednesday that the state is not mailing ballots to all Michigan voters.

On Wednesday she began mailing ballot applications to all registered voters.

The president’s attack on Nevada is particularly confounding, given that the state’s effort to switch to a nearly-all-mail election was made by Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske, a Republican. Democrats have sued Cegavske to block her effort to close nearly all of the state’s in-person polling places for the June 9 primary and mail ballots to all registered voters.

Cegavske’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The president is scheduled to visit a Ford Motor Co. plant that is manufacturing ventilators in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Thursday. The trip comes at a time when his campaign advisers are increasingly concerned about his chances there.

Trump’s tweets a day before the trip were seen as unhelpful to boosting his political standing in a critical state.

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state and municipal officials in Milwaukee have also said they will send vote-by-mail applications to registered voters in hopes of easing stress on in-person voting locations.

The president himself, along with the first lady, Melania Trump, voted by mail in Florida’s presidential primary in March.

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