President Donald Trump says absentee ballots are “great,” but there are opportunities for “tremendous corruption” in expanding mail-in voting amid the coronavirus outbreak.
During an event in Georgia on Wednesday, Trump said, “Watch please those mail-in ballots … because, you know, they have a lot of problems all over the country.”
“It’s very bad what’s going on with mail-in ballots, as differentiated from absentee ballots where you have to go, and you go through a process because you can’t be there for some reason,” he said.
He also claimed that “they’re going to be rigged” and a “terrible situation.”
“There’s been tremendous corruption, tremendous corruption, on mail-in ballots. So absentee ballot great. Mail-in ballot absolutely no good,” he added.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 15, 2020
He suggested that there could be a situation where vast portions of the electorate do not receive a mail-in ballot and are unable to cast their vote.
As the coronavirus spread throughout the country, many states moved to increase access to mail-in ballots to help ensure that Americans can cast their vote without risking exposure to the virus by waiting in line at a polling station.
Trump noted that during World War I and World War II, Americans voted and claimed that advocates of mail-in voting are using the coronavirus as a “chance not to vote.”
Additionally, he urged people to look into a case of apparent voter fraud in Paterson, New Jersey, where roughly 19% of mail-in ballots were rejected in the city’s special election on May 12.
“I think they said something like 20% of the ballots were corrupted, or something happened with them,” Trump said.
He also noted that about 1% of all mail-in ballots in the 2016 election were rejected, though he joked, “I don’t want to talk about that one because I won. So I don’t want anyone going back and looking.”
While some ballots may have been rejected for fraud in Paterson, they may also have been rejected because they lacked a signature or arrived after the deadline. However, the break down of how many ballots were rejected for fraud was not available.
A recent NPR study found that 65,000 mail-in ballots cast in elections around the country have been rejected so far this year because they arrived late, as IJR reported.
However, in Paterson, the Department of Justice charged City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, and others with voter fraud.
According to NPR, a postal worker alerted law enforcement that hundreds of ballots had been stuffed in a mail-box.
In New Jersey, voters can mail their ballots or a designated bearer — who is is not a candidate — can deliver their ballot for them. A bearer may not deliver ballots for more than three voters.
Jackson was charged after he was found to have had three mail-in ballots that were not his. And Mendez was charged for delivery ballots despite being a candidate. He was also accused of registering people to vote who were not eligible to vote.
Experts argue that the incident in Paterson is a rare example of voter fraud related to mail-in ballots. Additionally, they say it is proof that the protocols designed to prevent fraud worked.
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