Trump votes by mail in Florida despite false election fraud claims

Ballot marks third time former president has voted by mail in Palm Beach County

Louise Hall
Tuesday 09 March 2021 14:30
Trump calls universal mail-in voting a 'catastrophic situation'
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Former President Donald Trump has voted by mail in a Florida municipal election despite his continued attacks against mail-in voting as being susceptible to fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The Palm Beach Post first reported on Monday that Mr Trump requested a mail ballot on Friday for the town of Palm Beach’s municipal election.

The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website confirmed that Mr Trump cast his vote by mail and that it had been counted on Tuesday.

The request is the third time Mr Trump has requested an absentee ballot in his history as a Palm Beach County voter, The Post said.

The former president’s vote by mail comes despite his vehement attacks on the mail voting process in the 2020 presidential election.

Mail-in and absentee voting surged amid the pandemic in the US as voters and officials recognised the need to avoid large gatherings at polling stations amid the pandemic.

Both in the run-up to and the aftermath of the election Mr Trump frequently pushed baseless theories that mail-in votes were susceptible to fraud, despite no evidence to suggest so.

At points, the former president distinguished his attacks on mail-in voting between states that automatically send mail ballot applications to all registered voters and those that make voters request a mail ballot.

Mr Trump illustrated this conflicted attitude in his endorsement of the mail-in system in Florida in August last year, calling the state’s election system “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! #MAGA,” Mr Trump wrote at the time.

His efforts to point to the risk of fraud in states that sent ballots to all voters were also unfounded, as there had been no major cases of fraud or difficulty counting the votes in states which routinely use the practice.

Additionally, mail-in ballots are cast in the same way as what Mr Trump refers to as “absentee” requested mail ballots, with the same level of scrutiny such as signature verification in many states. There is little difference between the two systems.

In the wake of his election defeat, the former president and his legal team filed around 50 lawsuits filed in several swing states alleging that election fraud, in part as a result of mail-in voting, robbed Mr Trump of a victory in the election.

However, the Department of Justice said in December that they had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud during the election process.

Mr Trump’s continued attempts to undermine the election process culminated in an insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January, when pro-Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to prevent the certification of the electoral college votes.

According to The Post, Mr Trump’s request to vote by mail was made nearly a week after the deadline to have a ballot be sent by mail.

The outlet specified that mail ballots can be requested until Tuesday but must be picked up in person by the voter or a designee, speculating that the president is likely to have asked an associate to do so as he had done previously.

A Florida resident’s request to vote by mail “covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election,” according to the Division of Elections website.

The Post noted that the former first lady, Melania Trump, had not requested a mail-in ballot.

Additional reporting by agencies

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