President Donald Trump on Monday baselessly claimed that the general election in November will be “RIGGED” because of mail-in ballots, a method for voting that the president himself has used multiple times.
“This will be the Election disaster of our time,” Trump tweeted, citing an article from right-wing website Breitbart that featured comments Attorney General William Barr made Sunday during an interview with Fox News.
Barr told Fox News that voting by mail “opens the floodgates to fraud.” He warned a foreign country could “print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots” and that it would be difficult to figure out which ballots were valid.
Barr has not publicly provided any evidence to support his claim. And election administrators in multiple states have disputed this theory, stating it would be virtually impossible for a foreign country to peddle phony ballots undetected.
Nonetheless, Trump declared the process compromised, months before any votes have been cast in the general election.
“RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS,” he tweeted without evidence. “IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”
In a subsequent tweet, Trump called for an end to the “stupidity” of mail-in ballots and appeared to accuse Democrats of “using Covid in order to cheat.”
Several states have moved to expand mail-in voting practices in response to the public health threat that the coronavirus poses. The method could help curb contagion by reducing the number of voters at polling locations, particularly in some poorer communities where voters have traditionally waited in line for hours to cast their ballots.
Plus, much of the country already votes by mail. More than 23% of voters cast their ballot by mail in the 2016 general election.
Though Trump has questioned the legitimacy of mail-in voting, he has voted by mail multiple times. Barr, first lady Melania Trump, the president’s adviser and eldest daughter Ivanka Trump and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany have also voted or attempted to vote using absentee ballots.
Trump’s tweets Monday are the latest examples of him sowing doubt about the integrity of the upcoming presidential election. He has peddled unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in battleground states and had threatened to withhold federal funding to states that expand mail voting. He later backed off that threat.
Earlier this month, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden warned that Trump is “going to try and steal this election.” The New York Times reported that several Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans share the former vice president’s concerns.
“Since 2016, Donald Trump has shown that he is always ready to sacrifice our basic democratic norms for his personal and political interests,” Bob Bauer, a Biden senior adviser and a lawyer for the campaign, told the Times. “We assume he may well resort to any kind of trick, ploy or scheme he can in order to hold onto his presidency.”