On Thursday, the president said he opposes election aid for states and an emergency bailout for the United States Postal Service in order to restrict how many Americans can vote by mail. Considering nearly 180 million Americans are eligible to vote by mail, Trump’s moves could cause widespread delays, long lines and voter disenfranchisement come November, an issue that already gravely impacts Black people.
According to The Washington Post, Trump argued that his actions are to prevent Democrats from expanding mail-balloting, which he has claimed, with no evidence, would incite widespread voter fraud. In the past, Trump has also admitted that he thinks mail voting could allow more Democrats to cast ballots and hurt Republican candidates like himself.
When discussing his opposition to a $25 billion emergency injection sought by USPS along with a Democrat proposal of $3.6 billion in additional election funding to the states, Trump told Fox Business Network:
“They need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” that could be “fraudulent.”
“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump added. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting. They just can’t have it.”
Trump later told reporters at the White House that he wouldn’t necessarily veto legislation that has funding for the Postal Service, however, he said: “the reason the post office needs that much money is they have all of these millions of ballots coming in from nowhere and nobody knows from where and where they’re going.”
Again many of Trump’s comments about the mail-in voting process have been unfounded or misleading, despite critiques from all sides of the political spectrum that mail-in voting should be thoroughly handled.
Many Democrats have slammed Trump’s words as trying to undermine the election for his benefit.
Now, former President Obama is speaking out against Trump, arguing that even if Trump wasn’t trying to give money to the USPS because of voting, the USPS is still suffering from the pandemic and needs money for other tasks.
“Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open,” Obama tweeted. “They can’t be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus.”
Obama also acknowledged that both mail-in voting and in-person voting can be problematic. The coronavirus pandemic has already shown how poll sites have shut down and staffing has become limited in many states, causing daunting lines to vote. Meanwhile, some people who’ve submitted for absentee ballots didn’t received their ballots in time for the primary elections.
Obama suggested early voting is the best way to ensure your vote count.
“If you’re in a state where you have the option to vote early, do that now,” he continued tweeting. “The more votes in early, the less likely you’re going to see a last minute crunch, both at polling places and in states where mail-in ballots are permitted. Then tell everyone you know.”
Meanwhile, according to Washington Post sources familiar with the plans, the Republican National Committee and conservative groups have initiated an all-out campaign of voter suppression and restriction for the November election. They’re dishing out tens of millions of dollars on lawsuits and advertising aimed at restricting who receives ballots and who will stay on the voter rolls.
The party is even attempting to train as many as 35,000 poll-watchers to monitor in-person voting and ballot counting, predominantly in key battleground states. The campaign intends to have lawyers ready to mobilize in every state, possibly causing legal battles to ensue after Election Day in states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Nevada.