Seemingly terrified of losing his reelection bid at least in part due to mail-in voting, President Trump continued to be dishonest about the process’s legitimacy in a tweet so packed with lies it’s surprising he was able to fit them all within the character count.
Trump’s Sunday morning factless tweet began with a proclamation: “The United States cannot have all Mail-In Ballots.” What followed was a greatest hits list of falsehoods, conspiracy theories, doctoring of documents and physical intimidation, all topped with something seemingly straight from a QAnon forum: “Trying to use Covid for this Scam!”
“The United States cannot have all Mail-In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history,” Trump wrote. “People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and ‘force’ people to sign. Also, forge names. Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!”
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. Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2020
Then late Sunday night, Trump went back to this original tweet and quote tweeted himself to let everyone know that his earlier convoluted message was actually easy to understand, writing, “The Democrats are trying to Rig the 2020 Election, plain and simple!”
The Democrats are trying to Rig the 2020 Election, plain and simple! https://t.co/jlDhzGRnqa
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020
Of course, the president provided no proof for his litany of charges, and he ignores that there is no evidence whatsoever showing mail-in voter fraud is an actual concern. Fox News’ Chris Wallace said as much when he fact-checked the president following similar accusations brought by Trump earlier this week.
“Well, you know, I’ve done some deep dive into it. There really is no record of massive fraud or even serious fraud from mail-in voting,” Wallace said.
Wallace continued, saying that mail-in voting has taken place in both blue and red states without controversy.
“It’s being carried out in Republican states. It’s being carried out in Democratic states,” Wallace said. “There’s no indication that mail-in voting, as opposed to in-person voting, tends to favor one party over another.”
The Fox News host then added, “If anything, it tends to favor Republicans because the people, now we’re talking about outside a pandemic, who historically have tended to vote most often by mail are elderly people, people over 65, and they tend to vote more Republican than Democratic.”
Wallace went on to cite some instances of vote harvesting but said one of the biggest cases involved helping a Republican get elected in North Carolina. “Have there been some cases [of mail-in voter fraud]? Yes,” Wallace said. “But when people get their ballots and mail them in themselves, no history of fraud at all.”
Chris Wallace pours cold water on Trump's mail-in voting lies
Wallace: "There really is no record of massive fraud, or even serious fraud from mail-in voting … When people get their ballots and mail them in themselves, no history of fraud at all." pic.twitter.com/4cyYDu26iu
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) May 22, 2020
Trump, however, seems pretty convinced that mail-in voting will help Democrats and will be an advantage to his rival, Joe Biden, come November.
Earlier this year when the Democrats proposed funding for early and mail-voting as part of the coronavirus stimulus package, Trump pushed to have it removed, and it was. During a March 30 phone-in to Fox News, the president admitted as much, literally saying, “You’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” if the money for mail-in voting was included.
“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said. “They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.”
— PoliticsVideo23 (@politicsvideo23) May 25, 2020
A little over a week later, Trump pushed his anti-mail-in voting message again and called on Republicans to fight measures supporting it, tweeting, “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”
While mail-in ballots may be more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting, there is no evidence that mail-in voting is rife with it, and states who use vote by mail broadly have security measures in place like multilayer security envelopes, signature matching and bar codes for tracking. As Richard L. Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, told FactCheck.org, “Election fraud committed with absentee ballots is more prevalent than in-person voting but it is still rare.”
It’s also worth noting that the president himself has used the mail to vote absentee in the Florida primary earlier this year as well as in 2018 when he voted absentee in New York. Voter fraud expert Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University, also spoke with FactCheck.org and confirmed what Hasen said: “Misconduct [in mail-in voting] still amounts to only a tiny fraction of the ballots cast by mail (and is far less prevalent than the President’s rhetoric suggests, which may well be why he’s felt comfortable voting by mail in the past).”