President Trump on Wednesday alleged that the proliferation of mail-in ballots is a greater threat to the integrity of the upcoming election than foreign interference.
“Our biggest threat to this election is governors from opposing parties controlling ballots, millions of ballots,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House. “To me, that’s a much bigger threat than foreign countries because much of the stuff coming out about foreign countries turned out to be untrue.”
Trump’s own national intelligence officials have warned that China, Iran and Russia are all attempting to sway the outcome of the 2020 election, and intelligence agencies and a bipartisan Senate committee have determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
But Trump has been fixated on the use of mail ballots in this year’s election. Many states have expanded access to mail ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ten states are sending out ballots to voters, while others are sending out applications for absentee ballots.
“It’s very dangerous for our country,” Trump said of unsolicited ballots. “And you know who knows that better than anybody? The Democrats.”
Trump claimed Democratic governors could not be trusted with sending out mail ballots. But governors do not oversee the administration of elections, and secretaries of state have been responsible for sending out applications and ballots in Nevada and Michigan, among other states.
The president and his allies have claimed that the increased use of mail ballots will cause the election to be “rigged” or “fraudulent.” Trump and Attorney General William Barr have asserted that paper ballots are easy for foreign actors to interfere with, but there’s no evidence that is the case. Experts say there is little evidence of meaningful fraud involving mail ballots, and several states already conduct all elections by mail.
There are multiple security measures in place to guard against fraud with mail ballots, including signature verification protocols and tracking codes.