President Donald Trump cited mail-in voting as his “biggest risk” of not winning reelection this November in an interview with Politico conducted yesterday and published this morning.
“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.”
Politico asked the president the following two questions: Would a substantial amount of mail-in voting — which is widely expected because of coronavirus — cause him to question the legitimacy of the election? And would he accept the results no matter what?
“Well, you can never answer the second question, right? Because Hillary kept talking about she’s going to accept, and they never accepted it. You know. She lost too. She lost good,” was his response.
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.
But a study from Stanford University’s Democracy and Polarization Lab published in April 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.
Last month for example, the president made headlines after he 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.
Additionally, the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party last month filed a joint lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) over his executive orders to use mail-in ballots for the November election.
“Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Governor Newsom’s executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
“No state that conducts all-mail elections automatically mails ballots to inactive voters because it invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting,” the statement continued.