Donald Trump puffs up his cheeks in front of a row of flags.

Donald Trump Keeps Upping His Vote-By-Mail Lies & Hypocrisy

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For months, Donald Trump has been railing against mail-in-voting, falsely claiming that Democrats are pushing to expand the practice because it will help them win, rather than for the sake of public safety during a pandemic.

“The 2020 Election will be totally rigged if Mail-In Voting is allowed to take place, & everyone knows it,” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday in the middle of a massive retweet storm. “So much time is taken talking about foreign influence, but the same people won’t even discuss Mail-In election corruption. Look at Patterson, N.J. 20% of vote was corrupted!”

We’ve been over this so many times but once again, this is just a straight-up lie meant to suppress voter turnout. Vote by mail is not inherently more susceptible to fraud, and definitely not at the scale Trump is suggesting. Foreign influence is a genuine concern and that’s why people want to talk about it. But at the same time, Trump’s claim that no one will “even discuss” mail-in ballots is also false because every time Trump tweets something like this, media outlets all put out articles discussing his claims and fact-checking them. This is one of them. We’re discussing it, he’s just wrong.

He’s brought up that New Jersey example before, even though (just kidding, obviously because) it’s completely misleading. In that case, a city councilman and a few other men were charged with voter fraud after the U.S. Postal Inspection Service reported hundreds of ballots in one mailbox. The men charged were found with more than the legal number of ballots in their possession. (In New Jersey, a person can assign a “bearer” to deliver their ballot for them but a bearer can’t collect and deliver more than three ballots. Also, a candidate cannot be a bearer for their own election.)

Trump has been pointing to this example as proof that mail-in voting is ripe for massive fraud but what it actually shows is that the safeguards in place to prevent fraud are working. That’s how we know about it.

As for the claim that 20% of the ballots in that election were thrown out, that’s true but not for the reason Trump suggests. “Just look at Special Election in Patterson, N.J. 19% of Ballots a FRAUD!” he tweeted back in June. In reality, we don’t know how many of those ballots were fraudulent because ballots are thrown out for a lot of reasons, like if they were received late or if a person fills them out incorrectly–something Trump should know because he has filled out his own ballot wrong multiple times over the years during which he himself voted by mail, as has Melania and a number of his children.

Throughout all of this, the Trump campaign has been managed to keep upping its hypocrisy by encouraging his supporters to, you guessed it, vote by mail.

(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.