According to CNN, Trump spent March 7, March 8, and part of March 9 in Palm Beach during Florida’s early voting period.
As many states work to expand mail-in voting to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, President Trump has been ratcheting up his campaign against it, excusing his own utilization of the system as a necessity.
“You know why I voted? Because I happened to be in the White House and I won’t be able to go to Florida and vote,” Trump said in April. He reiterated that claim again last week in Michigan: “If you’re President of the United States and if you vote in Florida, and you can’t be there, you should be able to send in a ballot.”
But the president has actually had the opportunity to vote in person on numerous occasions, including at times being within yards of polling places.
According to CNN, Trump spent March 7, March 8, and part of March 9 in Palm Beach during Florida’s early voting period, and visited his golf club three times over the weekend. Directly across the street sits the Main Palm Beach County Library, where he could have cast a ballot in person for the presidential primary before or after golfing. Instead, on March 9 he requested a mail-in ballot—a process he has railed against for the majority of Americans, falsely claiming it has a propensity for voter fraud.
“The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history. People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and ‘force’ people to sign. Also, forge names. Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!”
Twitter administrators added a label linking to a fact-checking page that disputed his allegations. Ballot envelopes have a unique bar code assigned to each voter, allowing them to be tracked and for states to eliminate duplicates. Many states also have secure ballot drop boxes to deter would-be thieves. As for forgeries, a third of states match voter information and signatures from ballots against existing voter registration records.
Experts simply reject Trump’s claim that mail-in ballots create higher instances of voter fraud. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt tracked U.S. elections from 2000 to 2014 and out of over a billion instances found 31 cases of voter fraud. Former President George W. Bush commissioned a five-year study on voter fraud and found “virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections,” according to The New York Times.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last month found 58% of respondents support allowing all U.S. citizens to vote by mail in the 2020 presidential election because of coronavirus. In light of the pandemic, 17 states have postponed their presidential primaries to increase voters’ access to mail-in ballots.
“The bottom line is that absentee and mail balloting are secure in America,” Wendy Weiser, who directs the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, told CNN. “Election officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, pretty much universally are confident in the system.”
Meanwhile on Thursday, Vote for America surfaced a video showing the president encouraging his supporters to “mail in those ballots before Election Day.”