Uncertainty over the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led many Democratic leaders to push for mail-in voting options ahead of November’s presidential election, citing the safety of voters as a primary factor. Many on the right, however, oppose such efforts based on concerns that they could lead to elevated levels of voter fraud.
President Donald Trump amplified his rhetoric on the matter this week, expressing sharp disagreement with state leaders.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” the president asserted in a tweet on Tuesday, going on to predict widespread theft and forgery of ballots.
“This will be a Rigged Election”
Trump accused California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of “sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there,” theorizing that citizens will be coached to vote for specific candidates.
“This will be a Rigged Election,” he added. “No way!”
Days earlier, Trump expressed similar misgivings, tweeting that an election with mail-in ballots would result in “the greatest Rigged Election in history.”
He took on Michigan officials last week, tweeting on Wednesday that efforts to mail ballots to millions of residents across the state “was done illegally and without authorization,” threatening to “hold up funding” to the state if its leaders did not reverse course.
“You have to vote at the polling place”
The president was in Michigan on Thursday and responded to questions from reporters about his ultimatum.
“Yeah, we’re not going to do voting by mail,” he said. “Voting by mail is wrought with fraud and abuse, and people don’t get their ballots that happen to be in a certain district, whether it’s Republican or Democrat.”
Acknowledging that there are certain situations for which mail-in ballots make sense, Trump said that “to really vote, and without fraud, you have to go and you have to vote at the polling place.”
Elected Democrats at all levels continue to pursue funding for the resources needed to provide mail-in ballots. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said this week that the party is “now calling it voting at home because that’s what it’s all about — enabling people to vote at home.”
There appears little room for bipartisanship on the issue and it remains to be seen what Election Day will actually require of voters across the nation. With so much on the line in November’s races, many Americans of all political stripes are likely to question the results — whatever they happen to be.