Pres. Trump’s Tweets on “Mail-in Voting”

With all the attention focused on his “delay the election” tweet, I want to highlight another aspect of this morning’s tweets about voting.

The President begins by praising absentee voting: “With Universal Mail-in Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good) 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.” But when he goes on in later tweets to offer concrete examples of why “mail-in voting” will supposedly be catastrophic, all the examples involve absentee voting, not “Universal Mail-in Voting” (or what I call full vote-by-mail).

In a later tweet, the most specific example he offers is from New York:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump·20h New York Mail-In voting is in a disastrous state of condition. Votes from many weeks ago are missing – a total mess. They have no idea what is going on. Rigged Election. I told you so. Same thing would happen, but on massive scale, with USA. Fake News refuses to report!

He also offers a video from a local reporter in Philly, which shows how slow the US Postal Service can be.

But New York does not have “Universal Mail-in Voting.” Nor does PA. They both have absentee voting, nothing more. In fact, only a handful of states have “Universal Mail-in Voting.” Instead, about 28 states now have no-excuse absentee voting — including many that would be considered “red states,” such as KS/ID/WY/SD/ND/NC/NV/NE/MT/GA/AK (a few of these states currently have divided government).   

To be sure, the current absentee process in New York is a mess, as I have blogged about several times. That’s not because it’s “rigged” (there is no evidence of that so far) but because of bad policy and bad administration. But that’s not because NY uses “Universal Mail-in Voting.”

In short, there is no logical relationship I can identify between the President’s praise of absentee voting, his condemnation of “Universal Mail-in Voting,” and the specific examples of problems he offers. But the President does seem to think absentee voting is “good.”

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