Donald Trump slams mail-in voting again, says it will lead to 'greatest rigged election in history'
The president fears mail-in ballots will see wide malpractices in the November 3 election even as the model is being backed as a safe way in times of pandemic
For President Donald Trump, it is like turning the clock back. In 2016, the president had warned against a ‘rigged election’ before getting elected as the 45th occupant of the White House and blasted even his own party besides the opponent Democrats and the media. He eventually defeated Hillary Clinton to become the president. But as the US is approaching another presidential election, the maverick incumbent has come up with his ‘rigged election’ theory again. This time, he has targeted the mail-in voting process which is being promoted by many as the only way to hold the presidential election this November and said it would be the 'greatest rigged election in history'.
Trump felt vote-by-mail would pave the way to the “greatest rigged election in history” and claimed the supporters of the model are using the Covid-19 pandemic to create a voting scam. The president has been accelerating his campaign against the integrity of mail-in ballots as states like Michigan and Nevada decide to go for the distant-voting model to reduce people’s exposure to the deadly coronavirus.
“The United States cannot have all Mail-In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history. People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and "force" people to sign. Also, forge names,” Trump, 73, tweeted on Sunday, May 24. “Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!”
Trump threatened to 'hold back' funds for flood-hit Michigan
Last Wednesday, May 20, Trump threatened to ‘hold up’ federal funding in the key battleground state of Michigan, even when the state faced severe flooding after two dams collapsed and several thousands were evacuated besides fighting the pandemic. He also claimed that the mail-in ballot plans were “illegal”. He claimed Michigan’s secretary of state was planning to mail ballots to all voters while in reality, the state is planning to send applications for mail-in ballots to all voters, not the ballots themselves.
“Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. 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!” Trump tweeted last week.
Even at an event with the governors of Kansas and Arkansas at the White House, Trump called mail-in ballots “very dangerous” as they are “subject to massive fraud”.
“People have to check you, they have to see, they're to look at you and check you. I mean when you get thousands of ballots, and then put them in a bag and they just bring them in, who knows where they came from? It's so obvious. And frankly, they should have voter ID. That's what they should have. You really want to know what the country wants? The country wants voter ID. Otherwise it's going to be subjected to tremendous illegality and fraud,” he said.
While five states, namely, Colorado, Oregon, Hawaii, Utah and Washington already conduct elections almost entirely by email, 33 states and the District of Columbia give the voters such an option. In other states, voting is allowed by mail only under certain circumstances. The pandemic has fueled the debate about relaxing certain restrictions so that the all-important election in November can be carried out successfully.
Recent polls have indicated that the idea of mail-in voting is gaining popularity among all Americans. According to a USA Today-Suffolk University poll, about 66 percent of Americans say they are for voting by mail as an alternative to in-person voting on November 3.
Although Trump has blasted the idea of mail-in voting, he cast his ballot in Florida primary by mail in March but defended that saying he was at the White House and had to do so because he could not be physically present. He said if one has to send a ballot because of some reason like ill health, it was understandable. But sending out millions of mail-in votes is a practice that can lead to forgery, he said.