The president made his feelings on mail-in voting very clear in a Thursday morning tweet saying the process would cause Election Day 2020 to be rife with fraud and inaccuracies. He then suggested delaying the election.
"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history," Trump said. "It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
Despite objections from Trump's political opponents, mail-in voting in earlier elections in 2020 have been plagued with problems and hundreds of thousands of ballots being disqualified. Unlike absentee ballots, which much be requested by the registered voter, mail-in ballots are sent based on a list of registered voters, many of whom have moved, died, or were a family cat.
Without the in-person ability to check identifications of those casting votes, opportunities and incentives to commit fraud, particularly in tight races. In a New Jersey municipal election in June, a sitting councilman, a councilman-elect, and two other men were charged with gross manipulation and voter fraud. Many of the elections were decided by fewer than 1,000 votes and many have called for a complete invalidation of the election. In the March primary election in California, more than 100,000 ballots were disqualified for missing the deadline, lacking a signature, or not matching the signature on file.
As states look for ways in which to vote safely this fall, concerns have been persistent about results based on ballots sent through the mail. Despite evidence that voting by mail is problematic, Trump's concern about the security of mail-in voting has attracted controversy. On Thursday some suggested that the president's suggestion of a delay overstepped his presidential authority.
For the general election, officials are expecting at least 80 million Americans to cast their vote by the mail, a number that has given pause to many potential voters. A news team discovered myriad problems with the mail when they attempted to send 100 faux ballots to themselves. Three percent of ballots, they discovered, never made it back to them.
Local news’ experiment in mail-in voting ends in disaster: "I just don’t trust the mail" pic.twitter.com/BUPP5a9TK9— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 29, 2020
Congressional approval to delay the election is unlikely as several members of the president's own party have said they do not support the idea. However, without significant effort to fix the US mail, boost voter confidence, and curb fraud, Election Day this year could very well be "the most inaccurate & fraudulent in history," just as the president says.