As Trump rails against mail voting, some allies embrace it

  • FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2016, file photo, mail-in ballots for the 2016 General Election are shown at the elections ballot center at the Salt Lake County Government Center, in Salt Lake City. As President Donald Trump rails against voting by mail, many members of his own political party are embracing it to keep their voters safe during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) Rick Bowmer

  • President Donald Trump has tweeted that mail-in voting “doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” without further explanation. AP PHOTO

  • FILE - In this March 26, 2020, file photo Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, and Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, leave the State Room before their daily update on the states response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File) Joshua A. Bickel

Associated Press
Published: 4/10/2020 4:19:08 PM
Modified: 4/10/2020 4:18:52 PM

President Donald Trump is claiming without evidence that expanding mail-in voting will increase voter fraud. But several GOP state officials are forging ahead to do just that, undermining one of Trump’s arguments about how elections should be conducted amid the coronavirus outbreak.

While Trump has complained that voting by mail is “ripe for fraud,” Republican state officials in Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia have all taken steps to ease access to mail-in ballots, following health officials’ warnings that voting in person can risk transmission of the deadly virus. Nebraska’s Republican governor urged voters to apply for absentee ballots, and Florida’s GOP chairman says the party will continue to run a robust vote-by-mail program.

The disconnect between Trump and Republican state officials illustrates the abrupt, hard turn the president and his national political allies have taken on the issue. Before the coronavirus hit, many in the GOP had warmed to mail-in voting, agreeing that it can be conducted without fraud and even used to their political advantage.

But Trump’s hard line appears to be driven by his personal suspicions and concerns about his own reelection prospects. Statewide mail-in voting “doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” he tweeted this week without explanation.

Trump’s comments put his Republican allies in states in the awkward position of trying to defend their practices without criticizing the president. Some said they agreed with Trump, even as their actions seem to suggest otherwise. Others suggested Trump was out of line.

It is “disappointing when anyone in leadership” makes fraud claims, said Kim Wyman, the Republican secretary of state of Washington state, which has had universal mail voting since 2010. “When it happens, the public loses confidence in the foundational pillar of our system.”




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