Donald Trump again attacked the integrity of the American voting system Friday by warning that the country may “never know” the results of the upcoming presidential election because of mail-in ballots.
The astonishing comment was the president’s latest evidence-free claim that casting mail-in ballots is “fraudulent” — before a single vote has even been cast in this year’s general election. Americans are likely to use mail-in voting more than ever to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 at polling stations in November.
Trump voted by mail last week in Florida’s primary.
Critics say Trump’s assault on mail-in ballots is his attempt to sway the vote in his favor by reducing the number of voters, especially supporters of his rival, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — and to establish a fake justification for rejecting results in the event of his loss.
“You’ll never have an election count on November 3rd,” Trump declared. “You’re not going to be able to know the end of this election, in my opinion, for weeks, months — maybe never. It may be years, but maybe never,” he added. “Because once you go past the first week, you’re never going to know.”
The president claimed that after a week of counting votes, “they” are going to be “taking them and hiding them.” He didn’t identify who “they” are.
“I don’t like this mail-in ballot deal,” he said earlier. “It’s so mixed up, so fraudulent.”
“You know, there’s a theory that if you don’t have it by the end of the year, crazy Nancy Pelosi would become president. You know that, right?” Trump asked. “I don’t know if it’s a theory or a fact [but] ... that’s not good,” he added.
“That’s part of their whole act,” Trump noted, reinforcing conspiracy theories that there is some kind of plot against him. “Put that in the hopper. Add that to everything else,” the president said. “It’s a disgrace.”
Ellen Weintraub, a member of the Federal Election Commission, warned earlier this month that there’s a “substantial chance” election winners, including for the presidency, won’t be called the night of the vote. The commissioner urged voters to be patient while extra care is taken to tally all the votes “accurately” in order to “ensure that everyone’s vote counts.”
Weintraub assured voters, however, that mail-in voting is “absolutely” reliable, noting that one-quarter of all votes in the 2016 presidential election were cast with mail-in ballots (which can also be dropped off at polling stations or in drop boxes, she pointed out).
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place