President Donald Trump has spent the last few weeks attacking mail-in voting, claiming with no basis that it will lead to widespread fraud, and falsely suggesting that people could “forge” extra copies of ballots, or kids would start raiding mailboxes to illegally vote.
But many other Republican officials are trying to get their voters to take advantage of mail-in voting, to keep turnout high amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last fall, the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature passed, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed, a law allowing all registered voters to vote by mail without providing a reason,” reported Andrew Seidman for The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The Pennsylvania GOP has paid for Facebook ads encouraging people to ‘vote from the safety of your own home.’ Its website features a how-to guide for mail-in voting … ‘There are no lines, no delays, and no potential voting machine malfunctions,’ the guide says. ‘Democrats will use the new mail-in ballot to greatly increase their turnout. Republicans would be smart to do the same so that we have the advantage.'”
However, the same report reveals that most Republican voters in the state are rejecting this advice — because of what Trump is saying.
“As of Thursday morning, about 1.3 million registered Democrats had requested and been approved for mail ballots for the June 2 primary election, compared with about 524,000 Republicans,” said the report. “Republicans made just 29% of the requests, even though they represent 38% of registered voters in the state and 45% of those registered with either major party.”
“I must tell you that locally, in my county, we’re not advocating and we’re not pushing the mail-in voting,” said Northampton County GOP chairwoman Lee Snover. “We’re concerned about fraud. We’re not happy with the process. Trump has sent the message out there that he’s concerned about it as well … Our county kind of is a Trump county. We’re kind of listening to Trump on this. He’s spoken about it. He’s tweeted about it. He doesn’t want us to do it.”
Snover added that “more than one person” has told her “Trump doesn’t want us mailing in. I’m not mailing it in.”