WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday via Twitter that he will halt federal funding to Michigan and Nevada over the distribution of absentee ballots.
- Both Michigan and Nevada are considered potential swing states for the presidential elections in November.
- Trump was against voting by mail ballots — as he sees it as a way of creating voter fraud and a form of cheating.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday, threatening to suspend the federal funding to states of Michigan and Nevada over the distribution of absentee ballots amid COVID-19 pandemic. Both states are considered swing states for his presidential bid in November.
Trump tweeted, “Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”
The president’s threat was announced hours after the evacuation of about 10,000 residents in Central Michigan due to floods. He neither mentioned the types of aid he will suspend nor cited a legal basis for his plot — which could be in conflict with the earlier plan of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson given the states’ 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,000 deaths.
On Tuesday, Benson informed the public of a plan that aims to issue applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters which they can process before the August and November elections.
“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote… Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it,” Benson said in a statement.
Trump made similar warning to Nevada, alleging the state of voter fraud without evidence.
“State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S.,” Trump tweeted. “They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”
Trump told the press during a coronavirus briefing in April that he was against mail-in ballots because people cheat.
“No, mail ballots, they cheat,” he said. “OK, people cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they are cheaters.”
Normally, voters who qualify for absentee voting are those who are traveling or temporarily residing away from their usual residence. In the US, about one-third of states request for specific reason to vote by mail while more than half grant voters without such requirement.