Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has publicly supported President Donald Trump in his views on mailed ballots for U.S. elections. Trump has vocally opposed voting by mail, saying it will lead to fraud. McEnany defended this position in press briefings, telling reporters and their audiences that mailed ballots are the largest source of potential voter fraud. However, McEnany has voted by mail herself numerous times — 11 over the past decade.
Earlier this month, Trump falsely claimed that election ballots were being sent out en masse to every voter in Michigan. He later deleted those tweets and replaced them with the more accurate statement that voters were being sent applications enabling them to request ballots if they so chose. However, he maintained, without evidence, that this is illegal.
Kayleigh McEnany was asked about this during a press briefing on May 20. Some of her remarks from the official White House transcript follow.
Q: But there’s not evidence that there’s widespread voter fraud from mail-in votes.
McEnany: So, there — so, there’s evidence. You can go look this up on ProPublica. There was a bipartisan consensus on the fact that mass mail-in voting can lead to fraud. There was a 2005 commission by none other than President Carter, who’s not a member of the Republican Party, and also James Baker about this, concluding that these ballots, quote, “remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
She also defended mail-in voting on an individual basis, particularly since Trump does it.
So, first, with regard to the President doing a mail-in vote, the President is, after all, the President, which means he’s here in Washington; he’s unable to cast his vote down in Florida, his state of residence. So, for him, that’s why he had to do a mail-in vote. But he supports mail-in voting for a reason, when you have a reason that you are unable to be present.
However, that individual basis clearly applies to McEnany herself, too — the Tampa Bay Times learned that she had voted by mail in every Florida election she’s participated in over the past decade, for a total of 11 mailed ballots.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, five states already conduct their elections entirely by mail, including Utah, where Trump beat Clinton in 2016 by a significant margin. In addition, three more states allow individual counties to make decisions on holding elections by mail (including Nebraska and North Dakota, both of which went to Trump by large margins in 2016). In twenty-nine states and D.C. (in addition to the five states where every voter receives a mailed ballot) any voter can request an absentee ballot and does not have to provide a reason or excuse for doing so.
In a Heritage Foundation document shared on the White House site, data shows just over one thousand cases of voter fraud — in a time span of two decades. In the 2016 election alone, over 14 million votes were cast. That’s one case of fraud for every fourteen thousand votes — statistically insignificant.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com