Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub responded to President Donald Trump’s Wednesday night threat to “get rid of the ballots” and refuse to peacefully transfer power to Democrat Joe Biden if he loses the election.
Trump had been questioned by a reporter at a press briefing about the scourge of civil unrest spreading throughout the country, and quickly dismissed acknowledging the possibility that he may not win, reverting to his false claims about mail-in ballots.
“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump replied.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”’
Later on in the evening, Weintraub, a Democrat, bucked Trump’s threat to do away with democracy, writing on Twitter that “we do not ‘get rid of’ ballots” in American elections.
“In case anyone is unclear on the concept, in the United States of America, we do not “get rid of” ballots. We count them,” Weintraub tweeted following Trump’s remarks. “Counting the ballots – *all* the ballots – is the way we determine who leads our country after our elections. The only way.”
In case anyone is unclear on the concept, in the United States of America, we do not “get rid of” ballots. We count them. Counting the ballots – *all* the ballots – is the way we determine who leads our country after our elections. The only way. https://t.co/F4amcEvx2v
— Ellen L. Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) September 23, 2020
This is not the only recent spat to erupt between Trump and Weintraub over mail-in voting, which Trump has for months claimed – falsely – is fraudulent and open to manipulation by foreign influence efforts.
Last week, Twitter flagged two of Trump’s tweets because they violated the sites policies on spreading misleading information about the election.
In the first post, Trump claimed that the “Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want.” This, in fact, what he wants, and was simply projecting it onto to the other side.
“Because of the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots which will be sent to “voters”, or wherever, this year, the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want,” Trump said. “Another election disaster yesterday. Stop Ballot Madness!”
Ten minutes later, Trump urged “big Unsolicited Ballot States” to “give up” mail-in voting and force people to vote in person, which because of the coronavirus pandemic may not be possible for some voters.
“The big Unsolicited Ballot States should give it up NOW, before it is too late, and ask people to go to the Polling Booths and, like always before, VOTE,” he said. “Otherwise, MAYHEM!!! Solicited Ballots (absentee) are OK.”
Weintraub defended the efforts to ensure that all ballots, mail-in or otherwise, are counted. She also suggested that Trump help to protect an accurate vote count, rather than perpetually sowing doubt and eroding the public’s faith.
“No, Mr. President, there will *not* be mayhem in the 5 jurisdictions that have decided to provide their voters with mail-in ballots this year (CA, DC, NJ, VT & NV). Election officials in those areas, both Republicans and Democrats, are working hard to provide the best, most accurate, and safest elections possible in this challenging year,” Weintraub tweeted in response.
“Why don’t you consider helping rather than undermining their efforts?” she aded. “NYU’s https://twitter.com/BrennanCenter has a baker’s dozen of ways federal funding could still help this election go well: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/what-federal-money-can-still-achieve-election-season”
… most accurate, and safest elections possible in this challenging year.
— Ellen L. Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) September 17, 2020
Fact check: studies have consistently found that voter fraud is a statistically non-existent issue in the United States (31 “instances of impersonation fraud” out of more than a billion cast from 2000 to 2014, according to data from the Brennan Center for Justice).
No evidence exists that foreign actors like China and Russia are mailing out counterfeit ballots, as Trump has claimed. As well, numerous safeguards are in place to protect the validity of mail-in ballots, which are expected to inundate the hobbled United States Postal Service amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic. While this may cause significant delays in tallying votes, our democratic process requires that every voter has their voice heard.
Reject Trump’s baseless lies.
Thirty-nine days until the election.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.