Trump Lies About Vote-By-Mail To Suppress The Vote
April 9, 2020
During press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic over the last two days, Trump went on rants about vote-by-mail in which he made several false claims about this increasingly essential way to ensure Americans can exercise their fundamental right to vote.
TRUMP: Mail ballots are “very dangerous” and “fraudulent in many cases.”
TRUMP: “Now, mail ballots — they cheat. Okay? People cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters. They go and collect them. They’re fraudulent in many cases.”
REALITY: There is no widespread voter fraud in the U.S., and millions of people already vote-by-mail without incident.
CNN: “Trump is lying about voter fraud. Multiple studies over the years have confirmed that there is no widespread voter fraud in this country. Additionally, Democratic and Republican state officials routinely oversee elections where millions of people vote-by-mail without systematic problems.
NPR: “Tammy Patrick, a former election official in Arizona and now a current senior adviser with Democracy Fund, told NPR in 2018 that government officials should resist the urge to write off a voting method that can make voting more accessible (and in the current case safer) for thousands of people because of a few isolated incidents.”
TRUMP: Mail ballots collected by third parties are “forgeries.”
TRUMP: “The mailed ballots are corrupt, in my opinion. And they collect them, and they get people to go in and sign them. And then they — they’re forgeries in many cases. It’s a horrible thing.”
TRUMP: “You look at what they do, where they grab thousands of mail-in ballots and they dump it. I’ll tell you what — and I don’t have to tell; you can look at the statistics — there’s a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting — mail-in ballots.”
REALITY: States can implement commonsense measures like ballot tracking, pre-paid postage, and ballot drop boxes to improve ballot security.
ProPublica: “While all types of voter fraud are rare, including mail-in ballot fraud, Patrick said, states must take necessary precautions. She said states should prepay for return postage, accept ballots that are postmarked on or before election day, and ensure there are convenient locations for voters to drop off their own ballots.”
NPR: “Experts, especially those with experience in the handful of states that vote completely by mail, say states can implement things like ballot tracking, as well as pre-paid postage and ballot drop boxes which eliminate the need for voters to hand over their ballots to a third party.”
TRUMP: Democrats didn’t raise safety concerns about in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic until Trump endorsed a candidate in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
TRUMP: “And as soon as I endorsed him, they wanted to move the election. They didn’t want to move the election. As soon as I endorsed him, the Wisconsin Democrats say, ‘Oh, let’s move the election to two months later.’ They didn’t mind having the election until I endorsed him, which is very interesting.”
TRUMP: “Now they talk about, ‘Oh, safety, safety.’ Well, it was 15 minutes after I put out an endorsement that they said, ‘We have to move the election.’ They didn’t want to move the election before that. The other thing they wanted to do — which is crazy — at the end of the election, they wanted to have one week for proxies to come in or mailed ballots.”
REALITY: Democrats called for expanded vote-by-mail weeks before Trump’s tweets on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
SENATE DEMOCRATS on March 16: “The best way to ensure that this virus doesn’t keep people from the ballot box is to bring the ballot box to them. We must allow every American the ability to vote by mail. … On Monday, we will introduce the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 to help election officials meet this pandemic head-on. Our legislation will guarantee every voter a secure mail-in paper ballot and help states cover the cost of printing, self-sealing envelopes, ballot tracking and postage.”
DNC AND WISCONSIN DEMOCRATIC PARTY on March 18: “The lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Democratic National Committee and the Wisconsin Democratic Party seeks to expand access to voting for those who are worried about their health but want to exercise their right to vote. The lawsuit aims to extend the election and mail-in voter registration deadline from Wednesday to April 3 and extend the deadline for absentee mail-in ballots to reach the municipal clerks’ offices.”
DEMOCRATIC LEADERS on March 21: “States should automatically mail ballots to registered voters; voters should be able to mail back those ballots for free or with prepaid postage by the date of the primary; voters should also be able to drop off ballots at predesignated locations, as is the case in Arizona, or have someone else drop it off for them; and ballots should be accepted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election.”
TRUMP on April 3: “Highly respected Justice Daniel Kelly is running for the Supreme Court in the Great State of Wisconsin. … He has my Complete Endorsement!”
TRUMP: Trump claimed he opposed vote-by-mail because he wanted Americans to “proudly display” themselves when voting.
TRUMP: “It shouldn’t be mail-in voting. It should be: You go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”
REALITY: Trump himself voted by mail this year.
TRUMP: “I think mail-in voting is horrible. It’s corrupt.”
Q: “But you voted by mail in Florida’s election last month, didn’t you?
TRUMP: “Sure, I can vote by mail for the —”
Q: “So how do you reconcile that?”
TRUMP: “Because I’m allowed to.”
TRUMP: Trump admitted that he opposed vote-by-mail because it hurt Republicans when more people were able to vote.
TRUMP: “They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
TRUMP: “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide [sic] mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”
REALITY: Trump’s not the first Republican to admit that voter suppression helps his party win elections.
Wisconsin GOP Congressman: “And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”
Pennsylvania State House GOP Leader: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done.”
Pennsylvania GOP Chair: “We probably had a better election. Think about this: We cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He beat McCain by 10 percent; he only beat Romney by 5 percent. And I think that probably photo ID helped a bit in that.”