President Donald Trump on Aug. 4 pointed to the groundwork established during the terms of two Republican governors to explain why he backs mail-in ballots—absentee voting—in Florida.
After months of vehement opposition to mail-in voting, Trump recommended that people vote by mail in Florida, saying that the Sunshine state has worked out a “very good” system over many years.
Trump’s recommendation, where people request ballots, is not the same as the concept of universal mail-in-voting, where ballots are automatically sent out. Florida lawmakers changed the legal wording from “absentee” to “vote-by-mail” in 2016, since voters weren’t required to be away from home to cast their ballot. Florida voters must request a mail-in ballot in order to receive one.
“So Florida has got a great Republican governor, and it had a great Republican governor. It’s got Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott—two great governors. And over a long period of time, they’ve been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from other states,” Trump told reporters during a White House briefing.
“So, in the case of Florida, they’ve done a great job and they’ve had tremendous success with it. But they’ve been doing this over many years, and they’ve made it really terrific,” the president added.
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! #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2020
In 2018, Trump had repeatedly criticized the management of the election in Florida’s Broward County, calling it “an embarrassment to our Country and to Democracy!”
Trump compared the Florida system to the one established in Nevada on Aug. 3, just three days after Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) called an emergency session to rush through a mail-in voting measure.
“I mean, in Nevada, where you have a governor—he said, ‘Let’s just send out millions of ballots,’ and the Post Office cannot be prepared; I haven’t spoken to the Post Office about it, but I don’t know how they could possibly be prepared,” the president said.
Trump threatened to sue Nevada over the mail-in voting measure, which includes a provision that hands the power to manage an election in case of an emergency to the governor, rather than the secretary of state.
The debate over mail-in voting became a major election issue due to the pandemic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. Republicans have long argued that mail-in voting would open the door to fraud. Democrats say people should have the option to vote from home to reduce the risk of infection.
Trump has recently expressed concern that delays caused by mail-in voting could push back the final result of the 2020 election on Nov. 3. He told Axios in an interview aired on Aug. 3 that the results could be pushed back by months.
“It could be decided many months later,” Trump said. “Do you know why? Because lots of things will happen during that period of time. Especially when you have tight margins, lots of things can happen. There’s never been anything like this.”
Clarification: This article has been updated to distinguish the terminology “vote by mail” as distinct from universal mail-in voting.