Trump says he's voting absentee in the 2020 election after months of baseless attacks on mail-in voting

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump on Friday said he planned to vote absentee in the 2020 election.
  • Trump has painted a false distinction between absentee voting and mail-in voting, which are virtually the same thing.
  • The president has repeatedly made unfounded assertions that mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud in November.
  • Voter fraud is extremely rare in the US.

After months of unfounded attacks on mail-in voting, President Donald Trump on Friday said he planned to vote via an absentee ballot in the 2020 election.

"Absentee ballots are great ... I'm going to be voting absentee," Trump told reporters as he once again condemned mail-in voting, which is practically identical to absentee voting in terms of process and security measures.

Trump has repeatedly drawn a false distinction between absentee and mail-in voting, according to voting experts.Advertisement

"No-excuse mail voting or absentee voting whatever you call it — is essentially the same thing," David Becker, the founder of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, told CNN in mid-July.

"You request a ballot, you get a ballot, you vote, you send it in, and there are protections in place," Becker added. "It doesn't matter whether you call it mail voting or absentee voting. It's the same thing."

Though he continues to make misleading comments on mail-in voting, Trump will be voting by mail in November. The president also voted by mail in the Florida GOP primary in March.
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Because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats have advocated for expanded access to mail-in voting to reduce the chances of the virus spreading at crowded polling places.

Trump, who's trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the polls, has responded with repetitive, baseless assertions that voting by mail will lead to widespread fraud. "Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history — unless this stupidity is ended," Trump tweeted on June 22.Advertisement

On Thursday, the president went as far to suggest that the election should be delayed (which he has no legal authority to do), again citing unsubstantiated concerns over mail-in voting and mirroring the tactics of anti-democratic authoritarian regimes in the process.

The reality is that voter fraud is extremely rare in the US, and there's no substantial evidence to support the notion that increased access to mail-in voting would jeopardize the integrity of the election.

In 2016 and 2018, there were just 372 cases of potential fraud out of approximately 14.6 million ballots cast by mail (0.0025%), according to a recent analysis from The Washington Post. Advertisement

Despite these facts, Trump continues to maintain that mail-in voting will lead to "disaster" in November.

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