Trump&039s Repeated False Attacks on Mail-In Ballots – FactCheck.org

Over the past 48 hours, President Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, claiming that mail-in voting is a “disaster” and “out of control” and suggesting without evidence that The Democrats are going to steal the election.

The president repeatedly casts doubt on voting by mail, echoing what intelligence officials have said is a Russian strategy to undermine public confidence in the election.

on a Sept. at the press conference on the 23rd, the president said “we will have to see what happens”, when asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “Get rid of the ballots,” he said, and there would be a “very peaceful continuation” of power.

“Ballots are out of control,” he said of mail-in ballots. “You know that. And you know who knows that better than anyone? Democrats know better than anyone.” He doubled down the next day, saying mail-in ballots are “a big scam” when asked if he would just accept the results of the elections if he wins.

“We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure it can be,” he told reporters on September 1. 24. “I don’t know what could be with this whole situation: unsolicited votes. they are not requested; millions that are shipped around the world. and we’ll see.”

We have been following the president’s comments on voting by mail. In late July, we wrote a story, “The President’s Fabricated Claims on Voter Fraud,” recapping his numerous false, misleading, and unsupported claims to date about mail-in ballots. at the time, trump had suggested the 2020 election should be postponed, claiming this year’s mail-in voting will result in the “most inaccurate & fraudulent elections in history.”

Since then, the president has stepped up his attacks on mail-in voting almost daily. his attacks come despite a u.s. intelligence bulletin issued to law enforcement agencies on September 1. 3 warning that Russia wants to “undermine public confidence in the electoral process” by “amplifying criticism of mail-in voting,” as first reported by ABC News.

on a Sept. At the January 17 hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that “the constant drumbeat of disinformation… will contribute over time to a lack of confidence among American voters and citizens in the validity of their vote.” .

here we recap the many stories we’ve done this year about the president’s unsubstantiated, misleading and false statements about the potential for voter fraud.

We also reviewed your statements on mail-in ballots this month and found you’ve been repeatedly spreading misinformation, particularly about foreign governments fabricating “fake ballots” and Democrats sending “unsolicited ballots” to rig elections. He has also been repeatedly spreading misinformation about Nevada, saying he will “win this state easily,” if not for mail-in ballots, even though Trump lost Nevada in 2016 and is trailing in the polls again this election.

‘mocking’ claims about falsified foreign ballots

In June, we wrote about trump’s unsubstantiated claim that “foreign countries will print millions of mail-in ballots,” resulting in a “rigged” election.

At the time, experts told us there are numerous logistical hurdles, such as replicating ballots across multiple jurisdictions, and security measures, such as barcodes and signature verification, that would prevent a foreign government from spending a large amount of fraudulent tickets. election officials. those safeguards make it highly unlikely that such a scheme would result in fraudulent ballots being cast, experts say, and certainly not enough to sway a presidential election.

ricardo l. Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine School of Law and author of “The Vote Wars,” told us that the kind of massive fraud described by Trump is “a farce.”

after we wrote our story, u.s. Intelligence officials in a background briefing with reporters said they haven’t seen any foreign attempts to falsify mail-in ballots.

Similarly, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. rosen said on Aug. 26 discussion with the strategy center & international studies: “We have not yet seen any activity to prevent voting or change votes, and we continue to believe that it would be extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to change the vote count.”

regardless, the president continued to repeat unsubstantiated claims about millions of counterfeit ballots manufactured abroad. Using Factbase, a nonpartisan website that tracks Trump’s public comments, we found that he has made at least five such claims so far in September.

trump on ‘counterfeit ballots’

and if foreign countries want, this is an easy system to penetrate because they will make false ballots. they will make counterfeit ballots by the millions. – September. 23, White House meeting with state attorneys general

and, you know, when they talk about russia and china and all these others, they’ll be able to do something here because paper ballots are so simple, whether you falsify them, falsify them, do whatever you want. It is a very serious problem. — September. 22, comments to journalists

but chris, you don’t see any activity from china, even though it’s a much bigger threat than russia, russia, russia. both, plus others, will be able to interfere in our 2020 elections with our unsolicited (falsified?) ballot scam totally vulnerable. Check it out! – September. tweet on Jan 17, in response to wray’s testimony that day about Russian interference in the 2020 election and resulting in a warning tag on twitter (“learn how voting by mail is safe”)

Unsolicited ballots are uncontrollable, totally open to election interference from foreign countries, and will cause massive chaos and confusion. – sept. 17 tweet, resulting in a twitter warning tag

The biggest problem we have right now is the ballots. millions of ballots going out; That is the biggest problem. when you talk about other countries, whether it’s china, russia or many others that are mentioned, they are in a much better position with these ballots to do something than they would be under the old system. And that’s our biggest problem.” — sept. 16, white house briefing

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For more information, see “trump’s shaky warning about counterfeit mail-in ballots,” June 25.

false claims about “unsolicited votes”

on september 1st january 10th, we wrote about the president’s false claim that Democrats are mailing “80 million unsolicited ballots” in order to “harvest” votes to elect democrat presidential candidate joe biden in November.

as we wrote at the time, mail-in ballots will be automatically sent to eligible registered voters in only nine states and the district of columbia. that’s about 44 million ballots, not 80 million, and it will go to Republicans as well as Democrats and independents. Three of those states (Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) have done the same thing in past elections, and two others (California and Utah) have done something similar.

We don’t know where he got the 80 million figure from, but voting experts expect a total of 80 million mail-in ballots to be cast in the 2020 election, including voters requesting a ballot to vote, such as is the case in most states.

after we wrote our story, the president kept pushing the unsubstantiated claim that Democrats are sending “80 million unsolicited ballots,” or less specific claims about Democrats sending millions or tens of millions of “unsolicited ballots.” petitions” to steal the election, even though there is no evidence of such widespread voter fraud.

“Historically, we haven’t seen any sort of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether by mail or otherwise,” FBI Director Wray said at a September meeting. 24 hearing, noting that it has historically occurred at the local level from time to time.

The president has made at least 14 claims in the last two weeks about “unsolicited votes.”

trump on ‘unsolicited votes’

yeah i think that’s a better name josh because they said “universal ballots” and they had 15 different names. didn’t mean, people said, “how does that have to do with being universal?” not requested. eighty million unsolicited votes sent everywhere. — September. 23, White House meeting with state attorneys general

We need nine [high court] judges. you need that. with the millions of unsolicited ballots they’re sending out, it’s a scam; it is a deception. … because what they are doing is a deception, with the ballots. they are sending tens of millions of ballots, unsolicited, not where they are requested, but not requested. and that’s a hoax, and you’re going to need nine judges. – September. 22, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House

and when you see them cheating on the other side, I don’t say if, when. when you see them cheating with those ballots, all those unsolicited ballots, those millions of ballots, you see them. every time you do, report it to the authorities. – September. 21, at a rally in Swanton, Ohio

you have ballots that go out and you can get, you can request them as you know, you can request them and that’s fine. but if you’re not asking for them, when you take out millions, like 80 million, they say, all over the united states, where the hell do they go? – September. 21, at a rally in dayton, ohio

They used to say universal, but nobody knows what that means. unsolicited, meaning that people did not request these ballots. people say, hey, what’s going on? I just received a whole batch of tickets. they have no idea who they are sending them to. you know they are sending them to the wrong people. – September. 20, “Life, Liberty & levin” on fox news

but, uh, so I think, uh, yeah, they’re going to do something, dan. something is going to happen, but do you know what they are doing? they’re trying to screw it all up with the ballots. so you have, I guess I’ve heard numbers from 50 to 80 million unsolicited ballots. that is unsolicited. people are not asking for them. – sept. 20, “the show dan bongino”

when you request, when you leave, it is called “absent” or “request”. When he goes out and asks for a ballot, he wants to say, “I want to vote because I can’t be in Florida or I can’t be anywhere.” your order. so you’re sending something, it’s handled professionally, they send it back, that’s it. that’s very different from “unsolicited”, when you get millions of tickets. I heard numbers like 80 million ballots. – September. 18, white house briefing

big states with unsolicited ballots should resign now, before it’s too late, and ask people to go to the polls and, as always before, vote. otherwise chaos! requested (absentee) ballots are fine. @foxandfriends — September. 17 tweet, resulting in a twitter warning tag

the worst campaign, the most dishonest campaign I’ve ever seen, and the ballots, and well, you see, it was these unsolicited ballots. — September. 17, interview with clay travis

take a look at what’s happened over the last year with this same type of thing, except in a very small environment with very few ballots going out, so it’s much easier; not 53 to 80 million leaving. — September. 16, white house press conference

The ballot spam scam is a huge threat to our democracy, & the Democrats know it. almost every recent election used this system, albeit a much smaller & with far fewer ballots to count, they have ended up being a disaster. lots of missing ballots & fraud. — September. 12 tweets

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In the country they are going to send 80 million unsolicited, that is, people who don’t even know what a ballot is, suddenly here comes the ballot. … a lot of people use the word absent. you get an absentee ballot where you request it, it comes to you, you vote and you return it. that is different. but they’re just sending out, everywhere they’re sending out 80 million ballots. — September. 12, interview with jeanine pirro on fox news

They send out 80 million ballots. where are they going? who do they send them to? are they sending them to certain areas and not to other areas? are they sending them to democratic areas? all of these are controlled by Democratic governors, like your politically motivated governor. …they should make people: if you sign up, if you want a requested ballot, that’s where you request it. you have to sign papers. you understand because you can’t be there. that’s one thing when they sent 80 million ballots out to people they have no idea where they’re going. – September. 12, at a rally in minden, nevada

Sending 80 million ballots to people who don’t even ask for a ballot is unfair and a total fraud in the making. look what’s happening right now! — September. 10 tweets

For more, see “Trump’s Latest Fake Talking Point On Voter Fraud,” Sept. 1. 10.

mail-in voting attacks, governor in nevada

During September, Trump has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting in Nevada, under a Democratic administration. steve sisolak a particular target of criticism of him. Trump has repeatedly said that Sisolak, whom he called a “political stunt,” is “in charge of the ballots.”

but that’s not the case. As is the case elsewhere, the actual mechanics of the election under Nevada state law are overseen by the Secretary of State. and in this case it is barbara cegavske, a republican. she is the third highest elected official in the state and does not work for the governor.

sisolak drew the president’s ire in August when he signed a bill passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature that called for mail-in ballots to be distributed to all active registered voters during a state of emergency or disaster declaration, such as the covid-19 pandemic. so those voters will automatically receive them for the November election. these would be the “unsolicited ballots” that trump fumes about.

The bill was passed in the wake of limited polling locations and long lines during the Nevada primary in June due to the pandemic.

Increasing tension between the two men, Sisolak criticized Trump as “reckless and selfish” for holding a large indoor political rally in Henderson, Nevada on September 1. 13 in violation of state rules. Trump accused Sisolak of trying to prevent him from holding rallies elsewhere. Although two planned rallies were cancelled, there is no evidence that Sisolak was involved in those decisions.

These are the President’s distorted claims this month about the Governor and his baseless warnings of a “100% rigged” general election in Nevada:

trump on ‘rigged’ elections in nevada

the governor of nevada should not be in charge of the ballots. the ballots are going to be a disaster for our country. and the governor of nevada should not be in charge of the ballots. when he won’t let us get together and congregate [for a rally] and actually make a friendly protest, he shouldn’t be in charge of the ballots. you’re going to have ballot problems like no one has ever seen before. — September. 15, talking to journalists

how can you have a governor [of nevada] with that kind of control of the ballots? then, you’re going to have millions of tickets. the man who tried to prevent us from getting a [meeting] site. … now, this is the same guy that will be in charge of the ballots, ok. do you think that’s fair? there are millions of ballots that are coming out. he is the governor of the state. do you think it’s a fair thing, because I’m gaining that status easily? but the one thing you can’t beat is if they cheat on the ballots. — September. 15, “fox & friends”

We had big rallies this past weekend, after the Governor of Nevada worked very hard to cancel all of our venues. even though he controls the state, he failed, but would have preferred to rally outside. Can you imagine that this man is in charge… …of voting in Nevada!? unfair election, rigged! @govsisolak he will use every trick in the book to cheat on ballots. — September. 14 tweets

but you have a governor who just to have a rally made it very difficult. so if he is in charge of millions of ballots, he will have a problem with this state. we’re going to win this state easily, but when they send millions of ballots to people who don’t even know who they’re sending them to, or maybe they do, and maybe that’s even worse, you’re going to have a big problem with the state… . it is something terrible. people want to go to the vote or they want to do a requested ballot where they request a ballot, and they make a request, and they sign something, and it comes back, and they do it that way. but sending millions of unsolicited votes is unacceptable. …so you have a political trick that is run by millions of votes. that never works — September. 12, interview with ktvn in reno, nevada

It’s a, it’s a political stunt. let me tell you. he is in charge of the ballots. There’s no way I’m being honest about it. that is a platform. it is a 100% rigged platform. I have no doubt about it in my mind. … the governor totally controls it. the governor is the one who made it very difficult, and he controls it, and that’s fine. he wants to play that game, we’ll play the game. Do you know what the game is? the game is that he is also controlling the ballots, and it is a crooked operation. As far as I’m concerned, this is a rigged election. — September. 13, interview in las vegas review journal

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He is playing with the ballots and I hope you are watching. I hope the police are keeping an eye on this guy. he is a political stunt. he has your state totally closed and is really terrible. — September. 13, latinos for triumph event in las vegas, nevada

I think we’re going to win. I hope it’s on the night of the 3rd, November 3rd, and you know, mail-in ballots, in this case from Nevada, you don’t even have to have your ballot until seven days after the election, and I’m saying, ” What’s going on here?” —September. 3, interview with wpxi in pittsburgh

false statement about nevada signature verification

as part of his attacks on the new nevada law the governor signed, trump has falsely charged that nevada does not require mail-in ballots to be signed and does not require verification of ballots that are signed. as we have reported, that is not the case.

The law requires mail-in ballots to include valid voter signatures, which must be verified by election officials. The measure spells out procedures for dealing with signatures in more detail than previous laws suspect and provisions for allowing voters to verify them. but it didn’t change the signature requirement.

here are trump’s bogus comments in september about signature requirements to vote by mail in nevada:

trump on nevada signature requirement

And, I mean, some of the states, they don’t need a signature or verification. nevada, you don’t have to verify the signature. there is no verification. It’s a shame that this can happen. — September. 23, White House meeting with state attorneys general

now they have something new where they don’t want to verify signatures because that makes it easier so you don’t have to verify a signature. you see that in nevada. – September. 20, “Life, Liberty & levin” on fox news

you have… in nevada, you have a governor who signs something where he doesn’t even want verification of the signature. then what does that mean? so he doesn’t even want signature verification. so I think it’s going to be a terrible time for this country. — September. 18, white house press conference

ballots with bad signatures. ballots without signatures. And in Nevada’s case, they don’t even want signature verification. That is a misfortune. — September. 16, white house briefing

They even have a provision where you don’t have to verify signatures. what’s going on? — sept. 3, campaign rally in latrobe, pennsylvania

For more, see “Trump’s False Claim About Nevada Mail-In Ballot Signatures,” Sept. 2. 24.

our stories

Here’s a list of other stories we’ve done this year about trump’s distorted attacks on mail-in voting:

false statement by trump on counting votes in pennsylvania, sept. 22. At a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump falsely claimed that a Pennsylvania court had allowed election officials to “take as long as they wanted” to count mail-in ballots.

trump’s bad advice for mail-in voters, sept. 4. Election officials and voting experts say Trump gave bad advice when he encouraged mail-in voters to show up at polling places on Election Day and cast a ballot in person if poll workers they cannot confirm that your mail-in ticket was received.

the trump campaign exaggerates the potential for mail-in voting fraud after the election, Aug. 14. The trump campaign claims there is a potential for “massive fraud” in nevada because the postal service does not postmark the state’s prepaid return ballot envelopes. That is false. USPS policy is to seal all ballots.

turnover of the ballot in absentia vs. By Mail From Trump, June 19: Trump continues to make false distinctions between mail-in and absentee ballots, claiming the former are riddled with voter fraud while the latter, which he has used as president—require that a voter go through “a very strict process. the equivalent of going to a voting machine, or maybe even better sometimes.”

more false claims of trump mail-in ballots, May 27: trump falsely claimed that california will send mail-in ballots to “anyone who lives in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there ” and “non-citizens.” California plans to send every registered voter in the state a mail-in ballot for the November general election, due to the potential threat of COVID-19.

trump’s fake tweet about michigan absentee ballot applications, May 20. Trump, in a tweet he later deleted, falsely claimed in May that Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state was “illegally” sending “absentee ballots to 7.7 million people” for the primary and this year’s general.

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