Down in the polls and facing the possibility of defeat, Donald Trump is using his platform to generate mass confusion ahead of the November general election, which could make it harder for Americans to vote in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
Trump, along with the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, have been taking numerous actions that would depress the vote for the upcoming election, which Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is currently favored to win.
Here are some of the ways Trump and his GOP allies are trying to fix the election:
Attacking voting by mail
Since the spring, when governors began announcing plans to expand mail-voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has been railing against the expansion of voting by mail, even though it's a simple and safe form of casting ballots that doesn't require voters to gather at polling places where the coronavirus can spread.
Nine states and the District of Columbia will mail all voters absentee ballots, while 34 other states will allow voters to request an absentee ballot to vote, according to the New York Times.
Trump has falsely said voting by mail is rife with fraud, and susceptible to foreign interference — both of which are utterly false.
And there are numerous safeguards in place with absentee ballots that make them almost impossible for foreign adversaries to replicate.
Sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service
In an Aug. 13 interview with Fox Business, Trump admitted he wants to block funding for the Postal Service that would assist with the influx of absentee ballots — in order to prevent states from being able to conduct their elections by mail.
They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the post office. Now they need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren't getting there.
By the way, those are just two items. But if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting, because they're not equipped to have it.
Congress has still yet to pass more funding to help the Postal Service with the influx of mail expected from the rise in absentee ballots, with House Democrats passing legislation that the Republican-led Senate won't take up.
And while Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — a top Trump donor — said he was pausing some changes he implemented that slowed down mail service, it's unclear how much damage he caused to delivery was irreversible.
Spending $20 million to fight the expansion of voting by mail
As states pressed forward with expanding access to absentee ballots, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee doubled their initial budget for litigation in the 2020 election to $20 million — funds they're using to support restrictive voter laws and fight against expanded voting by mail across the country.
Attacking Nevada voters
In August, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit against Nevada's secretary of state, saying that a plan to automatically send absentee ballots to every active registered voter in the state would make "voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable," ABC News reported.
There is no evidence that voting by mail would lead to voter fraud. Safeguards against fraud include "requiring people requesting absentee ballots to be registered voters, mailing ballots to the official address listed on voter registration rolls, requiring voter signatures on the external envelope, and having election authorities make sure the ballot came from the address of an actual voter," according to the Brookings Institute.
Nevada's Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said after the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit, "My priority is to make sure the voters have every legitimate, legal option to vote. I think that this gives them that."
Accusing New Jersey of voter fraud
The Trump campaign also filed a nearly identical lawsuit against New Jersey, which is using a hybrid election model that includes mailing all eligible voters a ballot but allowing them to choose whether they want to vote by mail or in person.
Similar to the suit in Nevada, the Trump campaign's New Jersey suit is alleging that mail-in voting will increase fraud, and that "fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment," CNN reported.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy dismissed this accusation, saying after the lawsuit was filed that "the President's campaign is putting itself on record as wanting to delegitimize our November election instead of working with us to ensure that voters rights are upheld alongside public health," according to CNN.
Calling voting expansion in Montana a "power grab"
The Trump campaign filed another lawsuit in Montana, suing the state's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock by alleging that Bullock engaged in a "power grab" when he announced that Montana counties can hold their elections by mail, the Missoulian reported.
Bullock dismissed the lawsuit, calling it "part of a pattern of lawsuits across the country by Republican party operatives to limit access to voting during the pandemic."
"Voting by mail in Montana is safe, secure, and was requested by a bipartisan coalition of Montana election officials seeking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and keep Montanans safe and healthy," Bullock said in a statement, according to the Missoulian.
Trying to ban drop boxes in Pennsylvania
The Trump campaign also filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania to try to ban the state from using ballot drop boxes, which are perfectly safe and easy ways for people to give in their ballots without having to rely on Postal Service.
Fighting against drop boxes in Ohio
The Trump campaign intervened in another lawsuit in Ohio, in which Democrats are challenging the GOP secretary of state's decision to only have one ballot drop box per county.
The Trump campaign is siding with the GOP secretary of state in that lawsuit, attempting to limit the number of ballot collection boxes.
However, a judge ruled on Tuesday that the one ballot drop box per county rule was "arbitrary and unreasonable," the Associated Press reported.
Urging his supporters to commit voter fraud
As the legal challenges from his campaign make their way through the justice system, Trump has also asked his supporters to commit crimes on Election Day.
Multiple times now, Trump has urged his supporters in North Carolina to vote twice in the election: once by mail and once at the ballot box on Election Day.
Trump has said voters who cast their ballots by mail need to go to the polls to make sure their ballot was counted
"Let them send it in, and let them go vote, and if the system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote," Trump told a local news station in North Carolina on Sept. 2. "If it isn't tabulated, they won't be able to vote. So that's the way it is. And that's what they should do."
But North Carolina has an online system where voters can track their ballots, which makes going to the polls on Election Day to check their ballot status unnecessary.
By urging his voters to go to the polls to check the status, Trump could create long lines and confusion at polling sites across the state.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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