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As Trump Demonizes Vote-by-Mail, His Campaign Is Urging People to Vote By Mail

Trump campaign Facebook ads are suddenly saying that “Absentee ballots are GOOD”

Photo by: zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 8/5/20 Donald Trump and the White House continue to make claims about mail-in voting being problematic except in Florida and Arizona. The Trump campaign has brought a lawsuit against Nevada over a bill expanding mail-in voting in that state. STAR MAX File Photo: 6/5/19 World leaders including the heads of state of 16 countries involved in World War II joined dignitaries and military veterans in Portsmouth, England to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion in June of 1944. Attendees included Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Charles The Prince of Wales, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, USA President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, Governor-General of New Zealand Patsy Reddy, President of France Emmanuel Macron, President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of The Czech Republic Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, Slovakia DPM Richard Rasi and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. (Portsmouth, England, UK)

President Donald Trump has demonized vote-by-mail for months, but his campaign is now pushing Facebook ads encouraging his voters to vote by mail.

zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx/AP

Donald Trump has made no secret of his disgust with voting by mail. He’s blasted the practice as creating “tremendous potential for voter fraud,” claimed it would spark “a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of ballots” and insisted it would create “the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History!” In his debate with Joe Biden, Trump spun out fictional tales of tampering, insisting that ballots were “being sold. They’re being dumped in rivers. This is a horrible thing for our country.”

It is ironic, then, that the president’s own re-election campaign has now launched a wide-reaching ad campaign on Facebook promoting absentee balloting in key swing states. These ads insist that mail-in voting can be done “SAFELY AND SECURELY.”

The language on these ads makes no reference to potential fraud or abuse, as Trump has. In one video ad, the president’s daughter Ivanka tells voters, “Team Trump has made it super easy for you. Just go to DonaldJTrump.com/vote. You can…request a ballot and commit to vote.” The ads point to Trump’s own success with vote-by-mail as a model: “President Trump mailed in his ballot during the primaries,” the Ivanka ad reads. “Secure your ballot the safe way today!” Another exhorts Americans to: “VOTE ABSENTEE LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP.” (Absentee balloting and voting-by-mail are the same thing.)

At least one ad is written in Trump’s voice and insists: “Absentee ballots are GOOD. I need you to get your application and send in your absentee ballot IMMEDIATELY.” Other ads make the defeat of the Democrat in 2020 the key point of voting by mail. A $400,000 ad buy insists: “WE CANNOT LET JOE BIDEN WIN! REQUEST YOUR BALLOT.”

A review of Facebook’s ad library, which catalogs election advertising by the presidential candidates, shows that the Trump vote-by-mail blitz is comprised of more than a dozen similar ads, backed by enough money to reach millions of voters across the presidential battleground. According to metrics provided by Facebook, the messages target voters in key swing states, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa, Arizona, Maine and Wisconsin.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the contradiction of pushing vote-by-mail for a president who has gone so far as to say that the “disaster” of vote-by-mail could give him license to dispute the outcome of the election and not commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

There’s a growing sense of alarm in right-wing circles, however, that the president’s crusade against vote-by-mail has given Democrats a big advantage in an election shaped by social distancing. Absentee and early voting has taken off, in particular among voters registered as Democrats — 29 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election across 45 states, according to an NBC News analysis, and Democrats hold a 14-point edge in returned ballots.

In This Article: Donald Trump, vote by mail

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