Donald Trump's latest attack on voting could undermine the right of many active-duty military members to have their votes counted in the 2020 elections.
On Tuesday, Trump again demanded that the election be decided on November 3, rather than waiting for all ballots to be received and counted. He falsely suggested that it is illegal to count any ballots received in the days following the election.
"It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3," he told reporters. "Instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don't believe that's by our laws. I don't believe that."
While it is unclear whether Trump is familiar with the law, many states allow ballots postmarked by Election Day but received later to be counted — especially when those ballots come from military and overseas voters.
Indeed Trump's own new "home" state of Florida has long required that such ballots be counted, even if they have not arrived by Election Day.
"An overseas voter has 10 extra days from election day to mail back a vote-by-mail ballot. This 10-day extension only applies in presidential preference primary elections, general elections, and special elections and special primary elections (by operation of section 100.191, F.S.)," the state's Division of Elections website notes. "The overseas voter's vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election in order to be counted, provided the ballot is otherwise proper."
This is not the first time Trump has undermined members of the U.S. armed services.
He took billions of dollars appropriated by Congress for military families and repurposed it to pay for a massive southern border wall — one he'd previously promised would be paid for entirely by Mexico.
He reportedly called Americans who died while serving "losers" and "suckers," and he mocked U.S. prisoners of war, like the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), saying "I like people that weren't captured."
Polling suggests there might be a good reason Trump would not want military ballots counted. A Military Times survey in August of active duty service members found that 41.3 percent preferred Joe Biden in the 2020 elections, compared to just 37.4 percent support for Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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