“GOP scrambles to organize early and mail voting despite Trump’s attacks”


In December, Donald Trump called for the end of mail-in voting in presidential elections. In February, he told Michigan voters that “mail-in voting is totally corrupt.” He later told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that “if you have mail-in balloting, you automatically have fraud.”

“The ballots are a disaster,” he said earlier this month to British TV host Nigel Farage, without offering evidence and despite having voted by mail himself in recent elections. “Any time the mail is involved, you’re going to have cheating. It’s too bad people don’t say it. They don’t want to say it.”

That message is complicating plans by officials at Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to orchestrate aggressive efforts in key battleground states to persuade voters to cast their ballots early and by mail. Party officials say the efforts are crucial to win the election.

In an interview, RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said the party would spend considerable money — he would not say how much — to encourage voters to vote by mail and help collect ballots, a practice known as ballot harvesting that is legal in some states but that Trump has decried.

“We’ve got to get every one of our voters to vote, no matter the method,” Whatley said. “We want people to use mail-in voting where it is legal. We want people to ballot harvest where it’s legal. We want to comply with the laws in every state.”

Trump advisers say their get-out-the-vote effort will include persuading people to vote by mail if they believe it is the method the person is likely to use based on their voting history, including making sure ballots are mailed to people who request them.

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