FBI official says there is no evidence of coordinated mail-in voting fraud effort

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A senior FBI official told reporters Wednesday that the agency had not seen any “coordinated” mail-in voter fraud effort in advance of November, undercutting President Trump’s repeatedly voiced concerns around vote by mail. 

The official told reporters during a press briefing that while the FBI is aware the coronavirus pandemic would likely cause a surge in mail-in ballots this year, “we have not seen to date a coordinated national voter fraud effort.”

“It would be extraordinarily difficult to change an election through this effort alone,” they added.

For weeks, Trump has criticized the practice of voting by mail and repeated unsubstantiated claims that it could lead to an increase in voter fraud, suggesting in one tweet that the November elections be delayed. 

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted last month. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Earlier this week, Twitter added a label to another tweet from Trump raising unfounded concerns around mail-in voting, noting that the tweet “violated Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.”

Many states have taken steps to allow increased mail-in voting for voters concerned about the spread of COVID-19 at the polls, while others such as Oregon, Washington, Utah and Colorado were already voting almost entirely by mail. 

The FBI official’s comments came during a press briefing that also included officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

The officials emphasized that while adversaries are “scanning” election infrastructure for IT vulnerabilities and that Russia, China, and Iran continue to pose a threat to U.S. elections, coordination between federal, state and local officials to face these threats is strong. 

“We didn’t have near the visibility or awareness in 2016 that we have now,” a senior CISA official said. “We are way ahead of where we were.”

Tags absentee ballots Donald Trump FBI mail-in ballot mail-in voting voting by mail

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