In an abrupt reversal, President Donald Trump now’s encouraging voters in the essential swing state of Florida to vote by mail after months of criticising the observe, and solely days after threatening to sue Nevada over a brand new vote-by-mail legislation.
His encouragement follows a surge in Democratic requests to vote for mail in Florida, a state that Trump virtually definitely should win to safe a second time period. Democrats at present have about 1.9 million Floridians signed as much as vote by mail this November, virtually 600,000 greater than the Republicans’ 1.Three million, in response to the Florida Secretary of State.
In 2016, either side had about 1.Three million signed up earlier than the overall election.
“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. 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!,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany rejected the notion that the president has modified his views. She stated he helps absentee voting by mail for a cause, versus states mailing out ballots to all voters regardless of whether or not they requested them. Most election officers say there’s little efficient distinction between absentee voting and voting by mail.
Trump elaborated on why he helps voting by mail in Florida, however not elsewhere.
“They’ve been doing this over many years and they’ve made it really terrific,” Trump stated.
“This took years to do,” he added. “This doesn’t take weeks or months. In the case of Nevada, they’re going to be voting in a matter of weeks. And you can’t do that.”
Yet Florida hardly has a historical past of flawless elections, most notably in 2000 when the state’s disputed vote depend needed to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, delivering the presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore.
Trump cited a New York race for instance of what can go flawed, claiming nobody might know the winner. In that race, a decide dominated Monday that about 1,000 disputed ballots needs to be counted. That will seemingly not have an effect on the result because the incumbent, longtime Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney is main her closest challenger by about 3,700 votes.
“I think they have to do the election over. That election is no good,” Trump stated.
More voters throughout this yr’s main elections opted to vote by mail, and several other states relaxed restrictions for voting absentee by means of the mail. Trump himself voted by mail in the Florida main earlier this yr.
Five states have relied on mail-in ballots since even earlier than the coronavirus pandemic raised issues about voting in individual, however there isn’t any proof to assist Trump’s assertion that voting by mail results in widespread fraud.
Trump has gone as far as to counsel by tweet that the November election needs to be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”
States that use mail-in votes completely say they’ve obligatory safeguards in place to make sure that a hostile international actor doesn’t disrupt the vote. Election safety specialists say voter fraud is uncommon in all kinds of balloting, together with by mail.
With Florida’s massive retirement inhabitants, voting by mail is anticipated to turn out to be a extra standard possibility this November. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was requested Saturday if he had issues concerning the possibility. “No, I’m not concerned about mail-in voting in Florida,” he stated tersely.
Florida GOP officers welcomed Trump’s tweet.
“Thank you for the clarification Mr President! This is very helpful,” stated Joe Gruters, the chair of Florida’s Republican Party. “Florida will deliver you the 29 electoral votes!”
Florida is taken into account a must-win state for Trump’s reelection prospects. Its presidential contests are often shut, with Trump successful by simply 1.2 share factors in 2016, and George W. Bush successful Florida by simply 537 votes in 2000.
Nevada lawmakers have not too long ago handed a invoice that will add the state to a rising record of U.S. states mailing lively voters ballots forward of the November election.
The invoice, which was handed Sunday, was signed into legislation Monday by Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat. Nevada joins seven states that plan on routinely sending voters mail ballots, together with California and Vermont, which moved earlier this summer season to undertake automated mail poll insurance policies.
Trump referred to as the invoice’s passage “an illegal late night coup” in a tweet Monday morning. He accused Sisolak of exploiting COVID-19 to make sure votes in Nevada would favor Democrats.
Associated Press writers Bobby Caina Calvan in Tallahassee, Florida, and Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.