Once again, as this CNN story recounts, President Trump strongly endorsed absentee voting even as he criticized “universal mail-in voting.” And once again, journalists completely fail to recognize the significance of his endorsement of absentee voting.
I am going to continue to call this out. So for journalists who have not read this Washington Post piece of mine, the main form of mail-in voting that matters for this fall is ABSENTEE VOTING. Thirty-three to thirty-seven states will be using absentee voting this fall — the same system the President constantly endorses, the system FL and NC use that he has recently praised. That’s what matters for the fall election.
“Universal mail-in voting” is a sideshow for this election. Journalists should be emphasizing the President’s support for absentee voting, and helping the public understand that the President endorses absentee voting. Indeed, a recent tweet for the official Trump campaign put the point particularly strongly: “there is a vast difference between absentee voting and universal mail-in voting.” Debates about whether there is a vast difference or not are beside the point, in practical terms, for the fall. Since absentee voting is the main event for the upcoming election, journalists and commentators should focus on the consistent, strong endorsement of absentee voting from the highest levels of the administration and campaign.
Excerpts from CNN’s story:
“We’re going on to win a tremendous election in November, to be exact November 3 in North Carolina,” Trump told supporters who’d dialed into a telephone rally. “You can request absentee ballots right now. Absentee ballots are great.”…
At the same time, he told his audience: “Absentee voting is a secure process. It’s initiated by the voter — you request it — and every voter is verified. Every vote is verified. It’s the exact opposite of Democrats’ voter fraud scheme. They want to mail ballots to every eligible voter all over the state.”