Despite the global pandemic that has claimed over 100,000 American lives, the Trump administration continues to attack voting by mail.
In reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of voters have said they would like the option to vote by mail. Several states are taking steps to make it easier — and safer — for their citizens to be able to vote.
Yet Donald Trump and his administration have responded by attacking mail-in voting, even though Trump has voted absentee, in both New York and Florida. Several members of his family and his administration have voted absentee as well, including Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Mike Pence. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has voted absentee 11 times in the last decade.
During Thursday's press briefing, however, McEnany defended Trump's continued attacks on absentee voting, falsely claiming it will lead to massive voter fraud. She even cited a bipartisan commission led by President Jimmy Carter as purported evidence against voting by mail.
"I would note that a bipartisan commission, led in part by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, concluded that mail-in ballots, quote, 'Remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,'" McEnany said.
But the quote is out of context and misleading.
"The commission’s main recommendations on vote-by-mail and absentee voting were to increase research on vote-by-mail (and early voting) and to eliminate the practice of allowing candidates or party workers to pick up and deliver absentee ballots," Carter Center spokeswoman Soyia Ellison told Talking Points Memo.
McEnany then cited the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus and its problems with reporting results to further prove her point. But the Iowa Caucus is famously conducted entirely in person and does not involve mail-in ballots or any other kind of absentee voting.
From the May 28 White House briefing:
REPORTER: Research on mail-in ballots — research has shown that one, it doesn't benefit either party, it increases voter participation, secretaries of state of both parties are still pursuing it, and fraud is not widespread. And so why is the president continuing to tweet about this and to give the impression that there's widespread fraud using mail-in ballots when he himself used a mail-in ballot. The big question is, some are concerned that the president may be laying the groundwork to cast doubt on the election. Is that what he's doing by bringing this up?
McENANY: I appreciate you bringing up this question and specifically the component about the president using mail-in ballots. There's an important distinction, and I think it's lost upon a lot of people, but it's important to make is that the president is OK with mail-in voting so long as you have a reason. He's not OK with mass mail-in voting, where you auto-send, as I said, all of these voter rolls with people who are dead that are subject to fraud. That is the case. We saw — I listed off for you, I think, three of the five examples I gave you were from just this week and last week. So this does happen.
REPORTER: But research has shown — Stanford University did a research study that showed that there wasn't widespread fraud in these vote-by-mail, and that it didn't benefit either party and increased voter participation. So why would the president be against that?
McENANY: Yeah, it is subject to both parties. This can hurt both parties. I would note that a bipartisan commission, led in part by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, concluded that mail-in ballots, quote, "Remain the largest source of potential voter fraud." So moving the entire country to that system doesn't make sense. And to do so in a hurried fashion in November — just look at the Democrat Iowa caucus and how it worked out when they tried to move to a new system.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.