Trump Threatens to Delay Funding to States Over Absentee Ballots

May 20, 2020 Updated: May 28, 2020

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to request to hold federal funding to Michigan and Nevada over widespread mail voting schemes.

All Michigan voters will receive applications for absentee voting, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said this week. Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, said May 1 that all voters will receive mail-in ballots.

What Michigan is doing is illegal and “without authorization,” Trump said in a social media statement, calling Benson “a rogue Secretary of State.”

“I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” he added.

In another missive, Trump said Nevada officials were trying to “send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S.”

Epoch Times Photo
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske speaks on stage during Global Citizen’s “Show Up and Vote” concert at the World Market Center in Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 25, 2016. (David Becker/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

“They can’t!” he said, adding after threatening to delay funds: “Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”

Trump tagged Mark Meadows, his chief of staff, Russ Vought, the acting budget director, and the Department of Treasury in the posts, which he made on Twitter.

Cegavske’s office said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times that she didn’t make the decision lightly to use mail-in ballots in the upcoming election. Mail-in voting has taken place among citizens residing outside the state and others for over 100 years with no evidence of election fraud, the office said, noting U.S. District Judge Miranda Du on May 1 blocked an attempt to block Nevada’s June 9 primary over concerns of potential voter fraud.

“Nevada has many safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of an all-mail election, including signature requirements and verification processes, preprinted ballot return envelopes, barcode tracking, and laws against ballot harvesting. Voters concerned with mailing in their ballot may drop off their ballot at any designated drop-off location in their county,” according to the statement.

A spokesman for Benson said that Trump’s statement was false.

“The Bureau of Elections is mailing absent voter applications, not ballots. Applications are mailed nearly every election cycle by both major parties and countless advocacy and nonpartisan organizations. Just like them, we have full authority to mail applications to ensure voters know they have the right to vote safely by mail,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Epoch Times Photo
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at a news conference in Lansing, Mich., on March 5, 2020. (David Eggert/AP Photo)

Benson responded directly to Trump: “I also have a name, it’s Jocelyn Benson. And we sent applications, not ballots. Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia.”

Voting by mail is opposed by Trump and a number of other Republicans, who allege widespread remote voting leads to voter fraud and other problems.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said in a report (pdf) that nearly 2,700 absentee ballots in the city of Milwaukee weren’t sent and another 1,600 elsewhere weren’t processed because of issues including computer glitches.

Supporters of voting by mail say it enables people to exercise their rights while not risking getting infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

Dozens of people who voted or worked at Wisconsin’s April 7 primary elections became infected with the virus, state officials said.

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