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Trump's absentee ballot is waiting at Mar-a-Lago amid his war on mail-in voting

'They had them named after dogs,' president claims of recent Virginia election

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Friday 14 August 2020 16:54 BST
Trump ignores reporter's question on whether he 'regrets all the lying'

Donald Trump has been sent an absentee ballot in Florida as he wages a war against mail-in voting and the United States Postal Service.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump were mailed ballots on Wednesday. They were sent to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, the couple's legal address.

Both Trumps voted in March's Republican primary via absentee ballots. Mr Trump has defended his absentee voting habits by saying he could not be in New York, his previous home state, and Florida because he is too busy in Washington.

But his use of mail-in ballots has credit a headache for the White House as the president has for a few months been warning that mail-in voting automatically breeds fraudulent votes.

"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. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" he tweeted recently.

He has tried making a distinction between absentee voting and widespread voting-by-mail, which some states are planning due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"So I don't know how you can possibly use these ballots, these mail-in ballots," the president said Thursday evening during a coronavirus briefing.

"Absentee ballots, by the way, are fine," he added. "But the universal mail-ins that are just sent all over the place, where people can grab them and grab stacks of them, and sign them and do whatever you want, that's the thing we're against."

Mr Trump claims voters' identities and addresses are more thoroughly scrutinised and verified when they request an absentee ballot, saying there is no such vetting when ballots are simply mailed to all registered voters.

"But we want people to vote. We want people to vote so when they vote, it means one vote," Mr Trump told reporters. "It doesn't mean ballots all over the place.

"You saw ... what was happening in Virginia, where piles of ballot applications are dropped all over the state. They had them named after dogs," he said. "They had them named after dead people."

Democrats, including the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, say Mr Trump is opposed to mail-in voting because it typically favours candidates from their party. They say the same about his opposition to Democrats' demands for millions in new funds for the USPS to help it deal with states' plans for mass mail-in voting.

But the president denied those allegations on Thursday.

"We want to have an accurate vote. I'm not doing this for any reason," he said of his war on mailed ballots and the proposed Post Office monies. "Maybe the other turns out to be my advantage, I don't know. I can't tell you that."

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