Former President Barack Obama (D) is speaking out in support of absentee ballots.
“Voting by mail shouldn’t be a partisan issue––especially during a pandemic,” Obama wrote in a tweet on Monday. “Everybody should be able to request an absentee ballot, and make their voice heard in every election.”
He shared an NPR story on the controversy around mail-in voting.
He also encouraged Americans to register to vote and shared a link that gives people information on how to request an absentee ballot.
Get registered and find out how you can vote by mail at https://t.co/JQJjdF7JxM.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 13, 2020
Obama’s tweet comes as several states have moved to expand access to absentee ballots to ensure that Americans can cast their vote without risking exposure to the coronavirus at polling stations.
While Obama is calling for expanded access to absentee ballots, President Donald Trump has suggested that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud.
In April, Trump took to Twitter to urge Republicans “fight very hard” against expanding access to mail-in ballots, “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it.”
“Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” he added.
Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans. @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
And in May, he threatened to withhold funding to states that expanded mail-in voting, as IJR reported.
“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 said, adding, “They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”
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. They can’t! If they do, “I think” I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections. @RussVought45 @USTreasury— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
Trump’s attacks on absentee ballots have drawn criticism from Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “I don’t know what he’s doing, and I don’t know if he knows what he’s doing. But what he’s doing is not right.”
“The fact is, as a former Chair of the California Democratic Party, I can tell you Republicans have always enjoyed much success with vote-by-mail,” she added.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany sought to clarify Trump’s stance on mail-in voting by stressing that he supports mail-in voting when people are out of state for work.
However, “What he’s not for is mass, mail-in voting, what Nancy Pelosi is asking for, which we know is subject to fraud.”
While Trump has argued that mail-in voting will lead to massive voter fraud, there is little evidence to support that claim.