“He should encourage people to do it when they feel more comfortable,” said Karl Rove, an experienced Republican strategist who informally advised Trump’s campaign.
Unlike the President, Trump’s own campaign has spent weeks urging supporters in 17 target states to send in their ballots, and through a dedicated website, Facebook ads and Robocalls tells of the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
“If you’re Donald Trump, you need every vote you can get, no matter how you can get it,” said Scott Jennings, who worked under President George W. Bush and is close to Trump̵
Many Trump allies say the president’s concerns about postal voting are legitimate – most notably his claim that unsolicited ballots and ballot applications are being sent to millions of people who are not eligible to vote. However, they argue that in a pandemic where many people are expected to avoid the polls, getting Republicans to vote as best they can is more important.
Four other Republicans familiar with the situation said the point was communicated to Trump early on, and advisors urged him to state that he trusted some forms of remote voting. And in August the news seemed to sink in somehow.
Trump began to differentiate between applying for a postal vote and universal remote voting. And suddenly he began to summon followers Florida To request mail-in ballots, persistent Republican governors had insisted on streamlining the process in the crucial battlefield state.
At the same time, Trump continued his almost daily insults about massive election fraud and rigged elections in tweets, interviews and speeches. And then last week, during another rant over remote voting, Trump appeared Encouraging North Carolina residents to illegally cast two ballots – by mail and in person – which further worries its allies. Despite targeted convictions of even some Republican election officials, Trump still urges supporters to go to polling stations on election day to see if their postal vote was received, adding to confusion.
Around 1,000 people this year tries to vote twice in Georgia’s primary elections and runoff elections. Another 40 did the same in Pennsylvaniais primary.
“Hell, he’s been told for four years to be more precise with his language,” said a former White House official. “The problem with saying such stupid things is that it helps the other side to delegitimize legitimate concerns.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he would like to believe the North Carolina statement was a joke, but that Trump’s lines should be “checked” beforehand – but he knows it would undermine the president’s popular style .
“That’s part of what makes him work,” said Gingrich. “He’s very lively. It’s off the cuff. But there is a great danger of having such a style. “
Tens of millions of Americans are expected to cast their votes this year – many in Republican-dominated states and swing states, where GOP turnout is critical to Trump. A third of registered voters said they prefer to mail their ballot paper, according to a Washington Post University of Maryland survey released Thursday, although only 3 in 10 say they are “very confident” their vote will be counted accurately when they do.
Several Trump allies say culturally more Republicans would rather vote in person on Election Day than Democrats, but that could change this year with the pandemic.
Trump’s push against mail-in votes began in the spring as the pandemic continued to rage and his election numbers against Democrat Joe Biden fell nationally and in battlefield states.
There are signs that Trump’s language could backfire. Recently Polling shows Republicans are concerned about voting remotely, while Democrats in some swing states, including North Carolina, the nation’s first state to send postal votes, outperform Republican requests for postal votes.
Trump should have been “clearer,” admitted a former White House official.
“Any time a president creates confusion in this process, there is great risk,” agreed a former Trump campaigner.
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill trying to hold on to the Senate and retake the house have broken with Trump on the matter. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said voting by mail would not lead to fraud.
“The election will be fine,” McConnell said last month in his home state of Kentucky. “Many parts of our country vote by post. Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have voted by mail for years. There is nothing we can or should do, the federal government, to dictate how these states choose. ”
Separately, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently told Axios for warning Trump that his language could hurt the party.
“Republicans should accept this,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican political strategist based in Sacramento, California. “It is crazy that the president is destroying confidence in this issue.”
Democrats – and even some Republicans – suspect Trump of undermining confidence in the elections to explain or combat a possible November loss.
The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment on its allies’ concerns about the president’s language. Instead, it accused the media of failing to accurately report the president’s position.
“It is amazing that the media can no longer insist that there is no electoral fraud, but scream about it when President Trump points out the huge holes in the Democrats’ election plans,” said Tim Murtaugh, campaign communications director.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has also accused the media. The press argued that Trump’s double vote in North Carolina took the comments out of context. She said Trump was merely trying to explain that election day voters could check that their ballots were received and cast a preliminary ballot if they hadn’t.
“What I would say is that the president made it very clear: you should check your vote,” she said. “The president simply wants disenfranchisement.”
Trump has tried to differentiate between postal ballot papers and postal ballot papers. The latter have taken extra security precautions and only go to those who request them. But across the country the distinction seems to be negligible. Election officials say the ballot papers look identical. Some states even use the names interchangeably or use a single term for all mail-in ballots.
Richard Hasen, an expert on suffrage at the University of California’s Irvine School of Law, said Trump believes more fraud occurs when a state automatically sends ballots to voters rather than voters requesting them.
“That does not apply to the states that regularly conduct all elections via email, and I have not seen any reports of widespread fraud in the Nevada area code where they sent a ballot to every registered voter,” he said.
However, there are still some potential problems with postal voting: voting lists that determine who receives a ballot can be inaccurate, ballot papers can be sent to the wrong address or get lost in the mail, or voters can throw their ballot away because they do do not follow directions because you do not have a proper signature or a name that does not exactly match the information on file with the electoral officials.
Trump’s allies say states that want to move to postal voting will take years to build the infrastructure needed to process outbound and inbound ballots. They cite 319,000 ballots sent that were discarded in 2016, many of them because they failed to follow instructions or missed the deadline.
This year, voters have already filed complaints about the timeliness of receiving ballots from the beleaguered United States Postal Service in their state’s area codes.
Hans von Spakovsky, who leads the Conservative Heritage Foundation’s electoral reform initiative, said Trump’s advice to confirm that your ballot was received is necessary.
“Given the many complaints from voters in state primary that their postal vote was not delivered on time by the US Postal Service, this is a wise precaution,” he said.
Trump has mainly criticized democratic states for their electoral policy, but also states with republican officials expanded Voting programs by email.
Five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington – are running elections entirely by mail with few problems. In 2020, four states – California, Vermont, New Jersey, Nevada – plus Washington, DC plan to send ballots out to all registered voters. Ten other people, including Arizona, Wisconsin, and Iowa, will send ballot requests to everyone.
Some states allow coronavirus as a reason to vote by post, but most other states allow voters to request a postal vote without giving a reason.
Trump’s campaign and the RNC have been tried dozens of times to question electoral rules. His aides and outside advisors began crawl To think about possible executive action he could take to curb the mail-in voting, they have yet to come up with an answer.
An outside Trump adviser credited both the early vote and the postal vote as helping Trump secure victory in 2016 and insisted that the president adjust his postal vote to reflect the meaning of that year reflects.
“He’s got better,” said the agent. “He did a much better job. He refined his message. “