President Donald Trump requested a mail-in ballot for Florida’s primary election next Tuesday, while appearing intent on undermining mail-in voting for the millions of Americans expected to do so in this fall’s general election.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump submitted their applications for a mail-in primary ballot on Wednesday, according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website, as first reported by the Palm Beach Post.
Last year, the Trumps switched their voter registration from New York City to Palm Beach County, Florida, where he owns his Mar-a-Lago club.
On Thursday, the president all but admitted he is blocking funding to the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service in order to hamper voting by mail. Many Americans will likely vote by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and local and state election officials and the Postal Service are bracing themselves to contend with 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,” he said 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.”
Similarly, at a press conference Wednesday, he admitted that preventing the agency from receiving emergency funding would limit 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?” Trump said. “Are they going to do it, even if they don’t have the money?”
He also claimed the election would “be the great rigged election in history” and “one of the greatest frauds in history.”
Trump has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories about voting by mail, falsely suggested there will be rampant voter fraud, called for the November election to be delayed (which he cannot do under the Constitution) — and has implied he will cast doubt on the election result.
Voting rights advocates and election watchdogs have expressed deep concerns about the election, warning Trump’s rhetoric and actions will lead to increased voter suppression.