President Donald Trump is warning without evidence that expanding mail-in voting will increase voter fraud. But several GOP state officials are forging ahead to do just that, undermining one of Trumps arguments about how elections should be conducted amid the coronavirus outbreak.
While Trump has complained that voting by mail was ripe for fraud,” Republican state officials in Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia have all taken steps to ease access to mail-in ballots, following health officials warnings that voting in person can risk transmission of the deadly virus. The Republican governor of Nebraska urged voters to apply for absentee ballots. Florida’s GOP chairman says the party will continue to run a robust vote-by-mail program.
The disconnect between Trump and Republican state officials illustrates the abrupt, hard turn the president and his national political allies have taken on the issue. Before the coronavirus hit, many in the GOP had warmed to mail-in voting, agreeing that it can be conducted without fraud and even used to their political advantage.
But Trump’s hard line appears to be driven by his personal suspicions and concerns about his own reelection prospects. Statewide mail-in voting doesnt work out well for Republicans,” he tweeted this week.
Trumps comments put his Republican allies in states in the awkward position of trying to defend their practices without criticizing the president. Some said they agreed with Trump, even as their actions seem to suggest otherwise. Others suggested Trump was out of line.
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