Trump Lies About Michigan Voters Receiving Ballots By Mail

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning to complain that ballots were sent illegally by mail to millions of voters. It wasn’t true. First, voting by mail isn’t illegal. Five states will hold their elections entirely by mail this year. Secondly, Michigan did no such thing. The state has sent voters applications for absentee voting — they haven’t sent ballots. In order to get absentee ballots, voters will have to fill out these applications, and be eligible.

Trump caught in lie about Michigan voters
[Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images]

Michigan has very few limitations on voting by mail. Those who do their registration by mail, however, must vote in person the first time. According to Vote.org, five states will hold their elections entirely by mail, 28 states and the District of Columbia allow voting by mail without restrictions, and the rest allow voters to mail in ballots under certain conditions.

This year, however, with the COVID-19 threat, Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson released a statement on voting. She said that since every Michigander has the right to vote, and to do so safely, she’s mailing absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state. Out of 7.7 million citizens, 1.3 million of these already receive their ballots by mail every year. This move makes it easier for the other 6.4 million to do the same, if they prefer.

Trump tweeted about the move Wednesday morning, claiming that ballots were being mailed out indiscriminately, and threatening to withhold Federal funding to Michigan as punishment.

Again, these are not ballots being mailed, but applications, to legally registered voters, to allow them to apply for ballots if they would like to do so.

In Texas, a judge just struck down limitations that prevent some voters from being approved for absentee ballots. In Minnesota, the Star-Tribune reports, older voters are suing to remove restrictions they feel make it harder for them to vote by mail. The Tennesseean reports that a number of nonprofit groups in Tennessee have filed a similar suit. Currently any voter in Tennessee who wants to vote by mail must fall into one of a few categories, such as too ill to make it to the polling place, or over the age of 60.

Across the nation there is an increased movement for the right to vote by mail. While it’s accessible to a significant portion of the population, there are still those citizens who don’t have the option. By November, more of these lawsuits will make it through court. Though the Texas case cited above is expected to see an appeal, cases across the country are making it clear that, this year more than ever, voters want the option. In every U.S. presidential election, there are millions of absentee ballots cast. This year, there will likely be more than ever.

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