Trump submits vote-by-mail ballot in Florida
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump submitted their vote-by-mail ballots in Florida ahead of the state’s scheduled primaries on Tuesday.
The Palm Beach County elections office received the completed ballots on Monday, a spokesperson for the office confirmed to The Hill. The president’s and first lady’s ballots were dropped off in person instead of being returned to the county by mail, elections chief Wendy Sartory Link told the Palm Beach Post. Link told the newspaper that the ballots would be counted on Tuesday.
The Trumps had requested their vote-by-mail ballots and scheduled for them to be picked up last week in person by a designated representative. The completed ballots were then dropped off ahead of the 7 p.m. Tuesday deadline for vote-by-mail ballots.
The Palm Beach Post reported that the president did not meet the deadline to request for a ballot to be mailed to him before the election — ballots must be requested 10 days before an election — and instead opted for a representative to pick up the ballots.
The Trumps similarly submitted vote-by-mail ballots in Florida’s presidential primary in March after switching their permanent home address to Palm Beach County, home to the president’s private Mar-a-Lago resort.
The president has distinguished between absentee voting and universal mail-in voting, slamming the latter as opening up elections to widespread fraud, despite a lack of evidence. He emphasized that narrative in a video posted to Facebook in which he signed the vote-by-mail ballot.
“So absentee ballots are good. Universal mail-ins when you get inundated with these things are bad and will lead to terrible things, including voter fraud, etc.,” he asserted in the clip.
Only nine states are offering universal vote-by-mail ballots that are mailed automatically to registered voters, including five states that had offered them before the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times. Florida is not one of these states.
Until 2002, Florida had required voters to provide an excuse to receive an application for a vote-by-mail ballot. Now, an excuse is not needed, but voters still need to procure their applications themselves, as they are not mailed automatically.
The Florida legislature officially changed the ballot name from “absentee” to “vote-by-mail” in 2016 to avoid confusion, according to the Palm Beach Post.
More than 75 percent of voters in the primary so far have voted by mail, which is about 20,000 more vote-by-mail ballots cast than in 2018 and 2016, according to the elections office website.
The Trumps’ submission of their vote-by-mail ballots comes as Democrats are pushing for billions of dollars in additional funding for the U.S. Postal Service amid concerns that changes will delay the mail, including mail-in ballots for November’s election.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday vowed to pause changes to the Postal Service’s operations until after the election, as an increase in mail-in ballots is expected due to the pandemic.
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