10 bogus arguments Trump has used to attack voting by mail


Donald Trump's attacks on voting by mail are false and often contradictory.

Donald Trump offered his latest dishonest argument against voting by mail on Wednesday, baselessly suggesting poll workers would not be able to handle it.

He has now made at least 10 false and often contradictory claims to try to stop Americans from mailing in their ballots during a pandemic.

In a Washington Examiner interview published Wednesday, Trump dismissed his own argument that the U.S. Postal Service might not be able to handle millions of ballots.

"It's not the post office," he told the paper. "It has nothing to do with the post office." Trump argued that even if ballots came "a day late," that was "not the problem. The problem is when they dump all these [ballots] in front of a few people who are counting them, and they're going to count them wrong. The post office is not to blame."

This argument makes little sense, as election officials verify the ballots, make sure they are legitimate, and then scan them.

Here are some of the other claims he has made against voting by mail in recent months:

It will spread the coronavirus

In an Aug. 23 tweet, Trump warned that if voters are allowed to directly drop off their ballots in secure drop boxes, this would be a "security disaster."

"They are not Covid sanitized," he warned. "A big fraud!"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been saying for months that the coronavirus is spread mostly from person to person, not from touching surfaces.

On the other hand, at least 71 people who participated in an in-person election in Wisconsin in April contracted the virus.

Poll workers might change ballots before counting them

On Aug. 17, Trump suggested, with no evidence whatsoever, that poll workers who collect ballots could change the mail-in ballots before they are tabulated.

"Some states use 'drop boxes' for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots," he tweeted. "So who is going to 'collect' the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!"

Drop boxes can also be used for absentee ballots and poll workers process them the same way before tabulation.

It's only OK in places that have tried it before

Days before casting his own ballot by mail in Florida, Trump argued that mail-in voting was only acceptable in places like Florida that have done it previously.

"Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True," he tweeted on Aug. 4. "Florida's Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA."

Like many states, Florida makes no distinction between voting by mail and absentee voting. Trump's own campaign is making robocalls urging supporters to vote by mail in several key 2020 states — including some that have recently made it easier to do so.

The Postal Service isn't ready

On Aug. 3, Trump argued against a new Nevada law automatically sending ballots to voters — a system already used in many other states — suggesting that the U.S. Postal System was unprepared to deliver 1.6 million items.

"In an illegal late night coup, Nevada's clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state," he tweeted. "Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state."

Trump's handpicked postmaster general told the Senate last week that the Postal Service is "fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time."

It will lead to fraud and inaccuracy

Trump claimed in a July 30 tweet, "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA."

But experts say voting by mail is secure and possibly less susceptible to fraud than in-person voting. Studies have found virtually zero suspected voter fraud cases in states that have universal mail-in voting.

We might not know the results on election night

Trump also warned on July 30 that if too many people vote by mail, it might take a while to know the results.

"Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!" he demanded in a tweet.

But the results of close elections are often unknown on Election Night; the 2000 election result was not certain for 36 days.

Election experts note that any delays would be so officials can ensure an accurate count.

People will rob mailboxes

Trump also suggested, again with no evidence, voting by mail could lead to mailbox robbery.

In a tweet on May 26, Trump wrote, "There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed."

Two days later, he invented the idea that "kids go and they raid the mailboxes and they hand them to people that are signing the ballots."

People might be forced to vote

On May 24, Trump warned in a tweet that mail-in ballots might lead to people being forced to vote against their will.

"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!"

Even the conservative Heritage Foundation's database of voter fraud contains no examples of people being forced to vote in this way.

It will hurt Republicans

Trump likely admitted his real motivation in an April 8 tweet.

"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," he said.

But even this is not true; Utah switched to all vote-by-mail in 2012. No Democrat has been elected statewide in the deeply red state in that time.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.