FEC commissioner: ‘No basis’ for Trump claims voting by mail leads to fraud

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Federal Election Commission (FEC) Commissioner Ellen Weintraub on Wednesday strongly hit back at claims from President Trump that mail-in voting leads to high levels of fraud, asserting that there is “no basis” for such allegations and that the falsehoods “may well undermine the American people’s faith in our democracy.”

In a more than 60-tweet thread on the subject, Weintraub cited a range of reports and news stories to argue that there is no evidence that voting by mail leads to widespread voter fraud. She described the president’s claims as “dead wrong,” “crying ‘wolf,’ ” “false” and a “debunked lie.” 

“There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud. None,” Weintraub said, pointing to fact checks from The Washington Post and CNN, as well as reports from other organizations about the effectiveness of the voting method.

Weintraub formerly served as chairwoman of the FEC.

The series of tweets linked to dozens of reports that Weintraub held as examples of the reliability of voting by mail and its widespread use. She pointed to states that already hold elections entirely by mail and cited an analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice, among others, finding that “all types of voter fraud in U.S. elections are minuscule in comparison to the number of ballots cast.” 

Weintraub invoked polls displaying Americans’ growing support for mail-in ballots and linked to a study from the nonprofit Vote at Home that found 1 in 4 voters cast their votes via mailed-out ballots in the 2016 presidential election. 

“Parties are virtually equal in percentages of who votes by mail,” she added in one tweet, citing a blog post from an MIT political science professor. 

The tweet thread comes as Trump rails against moves to expand mail-in voting opportunities amid the coronavirus outbreak. Trump has claimed that the process puts Republicans at a disadvantage and has repeatedly pushed the unsubstantiated accusation that it would rig the election.

Twitter on Tuesday added fact-check labels to two of Trump’s tweets on mail-in voting, prompting Trump to threaten to action against the social media company. 

Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — already hold elections almost entirely by mail. Meanwhile, 33 states and the District of Columbia give voters the option. Other states allow voting by mail only in certain circumstances, though the coronavirus outbreak has prompted further discussion about relaxing certain restrictions. 

“The *real* fraud would be if U.S. citizens were deterred from voting and our government reflected the consent of fewer of the governed,” Weintraub said. “True leaders speak truth. Especially in an election season plagued by pandemic, economic uncertainty, and death, the American people deserve nothing less than the truth from our leaders.”
Tags Donald Trump Ellen Weintraub Federal Elections Commission Gavin Newsom mail-in voting voter fraud
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