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'There's Been Tremendous Corruption': Trump Claims Mail-In Ballots Will Be 'Rigged'

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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. 

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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

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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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