President Donald Trump threatened to withhold Michigan’s federal funding after its Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced that all state residents would receive applications for absentee ballots, allowing them to vote-by-mail.
Trump and Republicans have repeatedly disparaged vote-by-mail options in response to criticisms from voting rights advocates who’ve expressed safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic, and in a tweet earlier this morning, he alleged the step was done “illegally” and would encourage voter fraud.
“Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election,” the president tweeted. “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”
Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
Last month, a study from Stanford University’s Democracy and Polarization Lab has found that contrary to the widely-held belief among the GOP that vote-by-mail gives Democrats an advantage over Republicans, vote-by-mail options do not benefit one party more than another.
“By comparing counties that adopt a vote-by-mail program to counties within the same state that do not adopt the program, we are able to compare the election outcomes and turnout behavior of voters who have different vote-by-mail accessibility but who have the same set of candidates on the ballot for statewide races,” researchers wrote.
“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Benson said yesterday. “Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it.”