President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states that are trying to make it easier and safer to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. He backed away from that threat but stuck with his unsupported claim that widespread voting by mail promotes “a lot of illegality.”
The president targeted Michigan with a false tweet on its voting plans and also went after Nevada in the latest — and the most confused — episode in his campaign against voting by mail. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it as a safe option during the pandemic.
Trump has said repeatedly, without evidence, that mailed ballots allow widespread fraud and has worried publicly that wide availability could lead so many people to vote that Republicans would lose in November. GOP allies have fought changes to voting in court and opposed funding to expand mail-in voting in Congress.
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Wednesday marked the first time Trump has tried to use federal aid money to beat it back.
Trump began by going after Michigan, misstating Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s announcement that she would send applications for absentee ballots to every voter in the state.