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Biden and GOP Raise Issues with Trump's Grousing of Mail-in Voting

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Biden and GOP Raise Issues with Trump's Grousing of Mail-in Voting

2020-08-04 16:06:34

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Joe Biden (Image source: Screenshot)


Donald Trump may believe he's helping his chances in November by scaring potential voters away from mail-in voting, but Republicans are worried it will hurt him more than Democrats. Former Vice President Joe Biden accused him of telling "bald-faced lies" about mail-in voting.

The president is sinking in the polls and needs a lifeline. He and the Republicans know that the fewer people who vote, the more chance he has of winning, so they don't want voting choices widened. Despite the fact he voted by absentee ballot in the Florida primary, Trump has been railing against voting by mail and has said it will lead to voting fraud.

For this reason, instead of offering more mail-in voting during the pandemic, he suggested he'd delay the election, something he does not have the power to do. Congress, on both sides of the aisle, were quick to reject that idea.

During a virtual campaign fundraiser on Monday, Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate, offered that he believes Trump would do everything he could to "argue this election is fraudulent."

"He suggested we should postpone the election, full of just bald-faced lies about how mail-in votes were fraud and how it was terrible," said Biden. "Well, look, he's calling out any effort to exploit this pandemic for political purposes. It distracts from his complete failure."

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said the president was "rightfully calling attention to the clear fact" that universal mail-in voting will create "nightmare election scenarios," adding, "Joe Biden and the radical left are fearmongering as they capitalize on the coronavirus crisis in an effort to scare voters into staying home on Election Day."

Trump said on Monday that he has the right to issue an executive order on mail-in voting, yet he hasn't gotten to it yet. He also threatened to sue Nevada over its new law that would send mail-in ballots to every voter before the election in November.

Meanwhile, all of this is a concern to the GOP, as instead of discouraging Biden followers from voting, he's discouraging his supporters from seeing mail-in voting as viable. This worries Republicans that he could be harming all Republican races.

There is definitely a difference between how Democrats and Republicans feel about the issue, with Republicans saying they are less likely to trust the situation, according to multiple polls. Party leaders across the country are saying they are finding resistance from their voters who are being told to vote absentee because of coronavirus concerns while also hearing Trump describe the option as "rigged" and "fraudulent." It's left them to fight this battle on their own.

Some Republican officials have tried to show there is a difference between "absentee ballots" and "mail-in ballots," as the terms are both widely used, sometimes referring to the same practice.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill mentioned meeting a group of Republican voters in Fort Payne. He had to explain that there is only one kind of mail-in voting in Alabama and that it's safe and secure to cast their ballot that way.

"They were confused about two different kinds of mail-in balloting," he said," where one is 'good,' and one is not."

Republican National Committee spokesman Mike Reed disputed that Trump's criticism of mail-in voting is a threat to the number of Republicans who will vote. "Some are going to vote absentee through the proper process as they always do, and you will see us encouraging them to do that," he said. "But many of our voters just prefer to vote in person."

Trump's campaign and the RNC are trying to prevent mail-in balloting from the expansion efforts that Democrats and voting rights advocates back. This would loosen rules, including witness signatures and identification requirements, that would open up mail-in voting more. Republican Party officials believes those restrictions are needed to prevent fraud.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel and other Trump advisers have warned Trump that his criticisms are complicating getting Republicans out to vote, according to multiple strategists.

McDaniel and Justin Clark, the president's deputy campaign manager, have encouraged him repeatedly to promote the practice of absentee ballots. McDaniel has also encouraged him to stop his attacks on mail-in voting as a whole and alter his message.

Democrats are not looking to have mail-only elections in most states. This is partially because many of the Party's voters are people of color and younger Americans, and historically they are less likely to vote by mail.

A Monmouth University poll of Georgia registered voters last month showed 70 percent of of Democrats are at least somewhat likely to vote by mail in November, while only 28 percent of Republicans are. A Republican pollster said in one swing state only 15 percent of voters planning to vote by mail were Trump supporters.

"Republicans are skeptical about voting by mail, and that's a problem up and down the ballot," he said.

Trying to reach Republican voters, the Johnston County, North Carolina Republican Party posted to Facebook that voters should not dismiss mail the GOP was sending. "Attention!!! If you receive an ABSENTEE BALLOT MAILER like shown in this picture, please know that it is legitimate!!!" it said.

"Please don't confuse North Carolina's absentee system with other states' all-mail elections," continued the Facebook post from the county chairman, Darryl Mitchell. "NCGOP and JoCo GOP agrees with the president that  our current absentee ballot request system is safe and secure."

"Burned it! I will go in person to vote straight Republican," wrote one commenter to the post.

"Why is the GOP sending this out," wrote another commenter. "You know damn well that we are arguing against this, and here it is our own damn party sending this horse dung out?!!! Whoever is in charge of this should be fired. I am going to the polls. Don't send me one."

"This will be catastrophic for our nation," said Trump on Friday. "You'll see it. I'm always right about things like this." 

At least 77 percent of registered voters will be able to vote through the mail, according to The Washington Post.

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