Trump receives postal ballot despite vowing to block postal funding amid election fraud claims

14 August 2020, 06:50

The President has changed his stance on postal voting several times
The President has changed his stance on postal voting several times. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Donald Trump has requested a postal ballot for Florida's primary election despite weeks of harsh criticism of postal voting.

The US President and the First Lady were both sent postal ballots on Wednesday according to online Palm Beach County elections records.

The First couple are both registered to vote at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and the pair previously voted by post for the presidential preference primary in March, according to records.

The news comes just hours after Mr Trump said he opposes additional funds for the US Postal Service as it would boost mail-in voting he claims would help Democrats.

The sitting President has previously claimed that mail-in voting would hurt his campaign, which polls show to be in a tight race with Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

A record number of people are expected to vote by mail due to the on going coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump told reporters he refused to sign off on $25bn (£19bn) in emergency funding for the Postal Service or $3.5bn for election security due to the high price tag.

The President has flip-flopped his position on postal voting claiming it is unsafe and vulnerable to fraud, but he appeared to change his mind about the practice last week ahead of Florida's election on Tuesday.

He tweeted: "Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True.

"Florida's Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!"

However, he cited his opposition to mail-in ballots as his reason for blocking funding for the Postal Service.

"They want $3.5bn for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. That's election money, basically," Mr Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox Business Network.

"Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots," he continued.

He added: "Now, if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting, they just can't have it."

Voters are mainly choosing party nominees for Congress and the state Legislature at the election.

While both parties have pushed voters to cast ballots by mail in recent elections, this year there has been a stronger push during the pandemic.

More than 4.2 million Florida voters have requested a postal ballot, and nearly 1.5 million had been returned by Saturday morning, according to a Department of State website.

This compares to nearly 1.3 million cast in the entire 2016 primary election.

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