Over the course of the day, Donald Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding to two states, Nevada and Michigan, for making voting by mail easier. In both cases, he has mischaracterized the states’ decision to mail out applications for mail-in ballots as illegal.
This tweet has now been resent to say "applications" were sent to all voters. But it's still not true that this was done illegally. All Michigan voters are, by state law, entitled to vote by mail. Applications are sent out all the time, including before the coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/cbhKY3pr4L— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 20, 2020
State of Nevada “thinks” that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t! If they do, “I think” I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections. @RussVought45 @USTreasury— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
The Scoop: The applications only go out to registered voters, giving them the option to vote by mail, a safer alternative during a pandemic. When many voters were forced to vote in person in Wisconsin last month, it resulted in a spike of infections among those who had to stand in line or work the polls.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson: "Every Michigan citizen has a right to vote by mail …I have a responsibility, as the chief election officer for the state of Michigan, to ensure everyone knows how to exercise their right to vote and all the options available." @MSNBC— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 20, 2020
The Bottom Line: This is not about voting by mail. Donald Trump voted by mail. This is about supressing the vote.
The President voted by mail.— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) May 20, 2020
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Trump needed to vote by mail earlier this year because he was “unable” to vote in person in Florida.— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) May 20, 2020
Earlier this year, Trump was in Palm Beach County during two days of in-person early voting.https://t.co/b6VxYexel5 pic.twitter.com/DnKvqEFiTC
Donald Trump has voiced fears that he believes that making it easier for voters to cast ballots would work against him and the Republican party. That is undoubtedly the case during a normal election when voters in cities — who vote more often for Democrats — must stand in longer lines and face other challenges to cast their ballots. It does not, however, necessarily follow in a pandemic. The Democrats won a heavily contested judge’s race in Wisconsin, for instance, when voters were forced to leave their homes, while in California, Republicans took back a Democrat’s seat in a mail-in election last week.
What Does It Mean? — Nothing, probably. It’s highly unlikely that Trump can actually withhold federal funding without Congressional approval, and good luck winning in Michigan — a key swing state — if Trump decides to go that route. Trump, however, will make the political lives of governors in Nevada and Michigan even more miserable than they already may be. It also sends a warning to governors in other states who are considering making access to mail-in ballots easier. However, even in Republican-controlled states, governors and secretaries of state may face considerable pressure to make voting by mail easily accessible to everyone.
It seems that President Trump has a deep fear of the will of the people being expressed through their right to vote.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 20, 2020
Unrelated: The Lincoln Project — a group of Never Trump Republicans like George Conway — put out this ad, brilliantly trying to get Trump to fire his own campaign manager. It just might work.
Well this is a fun way to cause trouble https://t.co/v5htXB0d2N— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) May 20, 2020