Trump threatens funds for states easing voting in pandemic

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at an event at the Orion Assembly Plant

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at an event at the Orion Assembly Plant

Some states have made upcoming primaries completely vote-by-mail due to COVID-19. But the timing is no coincidence.

Samuel Bagenstos, a constitutional law professor at the University of Michigan Law School, told CNN that Trump has no authority to unilaterally hold up federal funding to states "because he doesn't like what states are doing".

So did First Lady Melania Trump, who presumably also voted for her husband.

President Donald Trump has been staunch in his opposition to mail-in voting - stating that it leads to fraud. The studies showed just 10 cases of voter impersonation fraud from 2000 to 2012, and zero prosecutions of such fraud in a handful of states where politicians claimed it was a serious issue.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding for MI and Nevada over their pursuit of mass mail-in voting. Without citing evidence, he said that there were forgeries of mail-in ballots and that "they send in thousands and thousands of fake ballots".

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In 2018, MI voters approved a ballot proposal to allow all voters in the state to request absentee ballots. Hayes asked Benson about her confidence in the state's ability to hold a fair election, regardless of how people choose to vote.

Mr Trump also threatened Nevada's federal funding, saying the state's move to expand voting by mail created "a great voter fraud scenario".

MI isn't sending absentee ballots to all of its registered voters, as Trump claimed.

That brought strong criticism from Democrats in MI and elsewhere, pointing out that the state was sending applications, not actual ballots, an error the president corrected in a subsequent tweet six hours later.

"Every Michigan registered voter has a right to vote by mail. With funding from the federal CARES act, I am ensuring every registered voter has the tools to conveniently exercise that right".

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"I'm dumbfounded that this is controversial", Benson said, "especially because there are Democratic and Republican secretaries of state doing just what we're doing here in MI". It remains unclear whether this prevented Trump's vote from being counted.

Trump said he "just spoke with" Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, about flooding in the state, but not specifically about his threat. Non-voters in these states identify evenly across the political spectrum, but, researchers found, are much less excited than active voters about the November election. And again, the history is that mail-in ballots are honest, and there is very, very little indication of fraud.

In Pennsylvania, the state GOP and its Trump-related affiliates have been urging voters to request absentee ballots for the primary next week.

Elsewhere in the state, county supervisors have been overwhelmed with absentee ballots and applications, have been forced to cut back on voting locations and encountered longer lines with fewer people because of social distancing.

Republican officeholders in various states - including Nevada - are also backing expansions of absentee voting because of the pandemic.

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On Election Day, most counties will have one large venue where people can go vote, rather than the usual precinct setup.

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