President Trump requests mail-in ballot for upcoming Florida primary, despite rhetoric
• Aug 14, 2020
For the second time as a Palm Beach County voter, President Donald Trump has requested a vote-by-mail ballot ahead of Florida's primary election on Tuesday.
And the president who has just spent the past few weeks excoriating mail-in voting has less than a week to cast it.
The request for himself and first lady Melania Trump came Wednesday, the Palm Beach County elections website shows.
The next day, Trump told Fox Business Network that holding back money from the U.S. Postal Service, sought by Democrats in a relief package that is stuck in Congress, would hamper mail-in voting, which he advocates.
“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump said in the interview. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”
The Trumps’ ballots would have been picked up, not mailed to his Palm Beach private club, Mar-a-Lago, because the deadline to send out ballots has passed.
Now it must travel to Washington, D.C., where the president and first lady can mark their choices for seven races. One of those races is for his local congressional seat, held by liberal Democrat Lois Frankel.
The election primarily involves choices for Democratic and Republican Party voters for such seats as county commission, Port of Palm Beach, state Legislature and Congress. However, the ballot also features judicial races and the elections supervisor’s seat, which are open to all voters regardless of party affiliation.
The president and first lady can mark their choices for seven races, including for Frankel's seat.
On the Republican ballot, the Trumps could choose from an array of candidates, including avid Trump supporter and conservative provocateur Laura Loomer, who has been banned from Twitter and raised more than $1 million for her campaign.
The Trumps’ ballots must return to the Palm Beach County’s elections office outside West Palm Beach before 7 p.m. Tuesday, when all mail-in ballots must be submitted.
There’s no word from the White House if they are entrusting the task to the recently maligned U.S. Postal Service.
In tweets, the president has lamented, without evidence, rampant fraud with mail-in ballots and even suggested the November election be delayed over coronavirus concerns. That can only be done by an act of Congress, though.
Trump has blasted vote-by-mail — particularly universal vote-by-mail, where elections offices automatically send ballots to all registered voters, rather than allowing the onus to be on the voter to request a mail ballot.
In tweets, he lamented without evidence rampant fraud with mail-in ballots and even suggested the November election be delayed over coronavirus concerns. More voters are opting to vote by mail to avoid voting in person.
Last week, Trump singled out Florida as an exception, tweeting that his supporters there should request an absentee ballot and vote by mail because the election system in the Republican-run battleground state is "Safe and Secure, Tried and True."
Trump has opposed financing for the U.S. Postal Service, which he linked Thursday to his dislike of mail-in voting.
"They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots," Trump said on Fox Business Network, adding, "If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it."
Florida lawmakers changed the legal wording from “absentee” to “vote-by-mail” in 2016 to alleviate confusion, since voters weren’t required to be away from home to cast their ballot.
Trump became a Palm Beach County voter in October, when he changed his permanent address from New York to his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach.
While Trump had an opportunity to vote in Palm Beach for the March presidential primary, he instead requested a vote-by-mail ballot and had an affiliate pick it up eight days before election day.
Trump asserted in Thursday’s interview that the dollars that would go to the Postal Service “will turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically.”
“Now they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he continued.
Critics fear his attacks are aimed at slowing mail-in voting when more voters nationwide plan on mailing in their vote to avoid in-person voting during a pandemic.
You can read the full article by Hannah Morse here.