Former President Barack Obama on Friday implored Americans to vote as early as possible and implicitly assailed President Donald Trump for his assault on mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service.
“Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open. They can’t be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus,” Obama tweeted.
He went on to urge voters to vote as early as they can.
“The more votes in early, the less likely you’re going to see a last minute crunch, both at polling places and in states where mail-in ballots are permitted,” he tweeted. “Then tell everyone you know.”
Earlier this week, Trump essentially admitted he is blocking funding to the USPS in an effort to limit voting by mail. Many Americans will likely vote by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and local and state election officials and the USPS will face an influx of mail-in ballots this fall.
“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said Thursday in an interview on Fox Business. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
The previous day, he admitted that preventing the agency from receiving emergency congressional funding would hamper mail-in voting.
“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess, right?” he said at his COVID-19 press conference. “Are they going to do it, even if they don’t have the money?”
Trump also claimed the election would “be the great rigged election in history” and “one of the greatest frauds in history.”
In recent weeks, the president has promulgated conspiracy theories about voting by mail, falsely claimed mail-in ballots could create rampant voter fraud, called for the November election to be delayed (which he cannot do under the Constitution) — and suggested he will cast doubt on the election result.
Election watchdog and voting rights groups have warned that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting will lead to increased voter suppression.