Trump and Pence Endorse Absentee Ballots, But Warn Universal Mail-In Ballots Are a 'Disaster'

By Susan Jones | August 4, 2020 | 7:20am EDT
A temporary election worker prepares mail-in ballots for scanning at the King County County Department of Elections in Renton, Washington on November 2, 2016.(Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
A temporary election worker prepares mail-in ballots for scanning at the King County County Department of Elections in Renton, Washington on November 2, 2016.(Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

( - In separate appearances on Monday, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made it clear they support absentee voting, but not universal mail-in voting, where states "take millions of ballots and send them all over the place," in Trump's words.

At a Monday news conference, Trump pointed to the New York congressional primary, held in June, where incumbent Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney still has not been declared the winner because of contested mail-in ballots.

"Well, there's never been a push like this for mail-in ballots, and if you look at the New York congressional race, which is a disaster, Carolyn--it has been a total disaster. They have--they are six weeks into it now. They have no clue what is going on, and I mean, I think I can say right here and now, I think you have to rerun that race because it's a mess.

“Nobody knows what's happening with the ballots and the lost ballots and the fraudulent ballots, I guess."

Trump said if a relatively small primary election in New York still isn't decided, "how are you going to do that for an entire nation?" He accused Democrats of "using COVID" as an excuse to expand universal mail-in voting.

Generally speaking, a voter must request an absentee ballot, while universal mail-in ballots are automatically sent to all registered voters.

Trump said his administration plans to sue the Nevada governor, after the governor came up with "this massive plan out of nowhere to take millions of ballots and send them all over the place."

Now absentee ballots are great, absentee ballots -- they have to request them, they go through a process, they get them.

But the universal mail-in ballots have turned out to be a disaster. And what Nevada has been doing, if you look over the last few days, you have to look at what they have done. You can have two ballots, you can harvest, it is harvesting, so you can take thousands of ballots, put them together and just dump them down on somebody's desk after a certain period of time.

They have something where if you vote, the vote can count up to seven days later. Well, if the vote is going to count seven days later, that means you, you know, if it depends on the one state like Nevada that would mean simply that you can't have--supposing it's down to that one state--it could be, it's a great state -- but supposing it's down to that one state. That means you have to wait seven days...This is something that is so messed up.

Trump also said the postal service isn't prepared to handle and postmark so many mail-in ballots.

"Again absentee is great, it works. Like in Florida, they will do absentee, it really works. But universal mail-in ballots is going to be a great embarrassment to our country," Trump warned.

Appearing on Fox News's "The Ingraham Angle," Vice President Mike Pence expressed similar sentiments:

Well, look, the president made it very clear, whether it's the power grab in Nevada, the governor of Nevada was signing (a bill) that allowed not only for universal mail-in ballots but also vote harvesting, as it's called, we're headed to the courts.

Look, the right to vote, the one-person, one-vote right, is at the very center of our democracy, and the president's made it very clear that we are not going to stand idly by while you see Democrat states, Democrat governors use the backdrop of the coronavirus to send millions of ballots all across their states and all across this country.

Let's be clear though, Laura, absentee balloting is perfectly acceptable. You have to apply for an absentee ballot, signatures are checked, it's confirmed, it has a long tradition, and we want to encourage any American that is not able to go to the polling place for any reason to apply for an absentee ballot today.

But this universal mail-in voting where you're going to see literally ballots showered all across the state -- it just, it is ripe for fraud and we are headed straight to the courts to put a stop to it.

This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, more states are making it easier to vote by mail.

All states allow absentee voting for people who request a ballot, but some states require the voter to state a reason for not voting in person.

Most states also allow early, in-person voting at local election offices, as well as in-person voting on Election Day.

Only five states (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah) automatically mail ballots to every registered voter (no application required). Nevada plans to become the sixth state to do so.

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