- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2020

President Trump urged Florida residents Tuesday to vote by mail, after months of criticizing mail-in voting as susceptible to fraud.

“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “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! #MAGA”.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president “has always said that absentee voting for a reason is different than mass mail-out voting.”

Mr. Trump’s tweet didn’t distinguish between absentee and mass mail-in voting.

The president said Tuesday night that Florida has more experience with mail-in voting than many other states and is “well-run” under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Florida has been working on this for years, and they have a very good system for mail-in,” Mr. Trump said. “They’ve had tremendous success with it. We have total confidence that if you mail in your ballot in Florida, it’s going to matter.”

Florida Republican officials have expressed concern that the president’s campaign against mail-in voting is suppressing the number of GOP voters who are taking part in it, while Democrats are voting by mail in large numbers.

Ms. McEnany cited a recent court decision in Florida on mail-in voting. Trump campaign officials pointed to a settlement two weeks ago that halted a lawsuit from Democrats that sought to push through changes in the state’s voting laws because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The negotiated agreement calls for Florida’s top election official to educate local election supervisors on prepaid postage, to encourage the use of drop boxes, and to make vote-by-mail request forms available in Spanish.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hailed the result as “a win for Florida voters and a win for election integrity.”

Thea McDonald, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary, said Tuesday that the president’s tweet on voting by mail in Florida “speaks for itself.”

“What most states call ‘absentee voting’ has long been termed ‘vote-by-mail’ in Florida — it’s been that way for years, and it works,” she said. “President Trump is fighting to make sure every valid vote counts — the exact opposite of what’s happened in New York’s and California’s train-wreck primaries, where we saw Democrats’ rush to implement a faulty universal vote-by-mail system. Six weeks later, we still don’t know who won in New York, yet Democrats in Nevada have just decided to use the same system. Wake up folks, Democrats are the people rigging and delaying elections.”

The president is trailing Democrat Joseph R. Biden in Florida by 6 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

Politico reported this week that Republicans are concerned about mail-in balloting, with private polling showing that 15% of Trump voters in Florida say getting a ballot in the mail would make them less likely to vote in the fall.

In June, Florida Democrats opened up a more than 300,000-person advantage over Republicans in enrollment for mail-in voting.

Voters in 17 states must provide an excuse for mailing in an absentee ballot, while 28 states — including Florida — and the District of Columbia offer no-excuse mail-in voting.

Another five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — conduct elections entirely by mail, which means voters do not need to request a ballot but instead automatically receive one.

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