Administration

Jimmy Carter supports absentee ballots, says he’s used them for more than five years

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Former President Carter on Thursday pushed back after Attorney General William Barr and the White House cited his 2005 study on mail-in voting in an attempt to discredit the practice ahead of November’s general election.

“I approve the use of absentee ballots and have been using them for more than five years,” Carter said in a statement.

The statement comes after Barr on Wednesday referenced Carter’s 2005 bipartisan commission, claiming the “fundamental problem” the report identified was that “mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also referenced that same commission on Thursday, claiming Carter “said in 2005, as part of a bipartisan commission, absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”

Carter, however, redirected his comments to his previous statement in May that encouraged federal and state governments to expand access to vote-by-mail options.

The nonpartisan 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, found that when safeguards for ballot integrity are put into place, “there was little evidence of voter fraud,” according to the May statement.

“The commission’s main recommendations on vote-by-mail and absentee voting were to increase research on vote-by-mail (and early voting) and to eliminate the practice of allowing candidates or party workers to pick up and deliver absentee ballots,” the statement continued.

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that if mail-in voting is widespread in November, the result will be “fraudulent” or “rigged.”

He has made several baseless claims about voter fraud, and elections experts have repeatedly said there is no meaningful evidence linking fraud with mail ballots.

They have pointed to safeguards in place such as signature verification and bar codes for tracking.

In Wednesday’s interview with CNN, Barr backed some of Trump’s assertions about the voting method, claiming it’s like “playing with fire.”

“We’re a very closely divided country here, and people have to have confidence in the legitimacy of the government,” he said. “People trying to change the rules to this methodology, which as a matter of logic is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous, and people are playing with fire.”

Tags Absentee ballot Donald Trump Elections Electoral fraud Jimmy Carter Kayleigh McEnany mail-in voting The Carter Center Voting William Barr

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