Trump says surge in voting by mail his ‘biggest risk’

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President Trump is warning that an increase in voting by mail this November is the “biggest risk” to his chances of winning reelection.

For months the president has railed against efforts by Democrats and some Republicans to allow more people to vote by absentee ballot in the general election, to avoid health risks associated with voting in-person at polling stations amid the coronavirus pandemic. His reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee earlier this year launched a multimillion-dollar legal push to squash moves by Democrats to expand ballot access.

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“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said Thursday in an interview with Politico. “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.”

The president has repeatedly charged that expanded balloting by mail would lead to “massive” voter fraud.

"MAIL-IN VOTING WILL LEAD TO MASSIVE FRAUD AND ABUSE," Trump said in an all-caps tweet late last month. "IT WILL ALSO LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY. WE CAN NEVER LET THIS TRAGEDY BEFALL OUR NATION."

But the president has not followed up his numerous claims that voting by mail leads to massive voter fraud and favors Democrats over Republicans with concrete proof.

Election experts do say that voting by mail is more susceptible to fraud than casting a ballot in person, but they’ve seen no evidence of widespread fraud or that absentee balloting favors Democrats. But the massive increase in absentee balloting places an extra burden on already stressed-out state and county election officials and on a U.S. Postal Service facing financial and manpower deficits.

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The spotlighting of voter fraud by the president has Democrats warning of ulterior motives.

"It’s my greatest concern, my single greatest concern," presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said last week in an appearance on "The Daily Show." "This president is going to try to steal this election. This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in a primary."

But in an interview the next day with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner, the president seemed to downplay such fears.

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“Certainly, if I don't win, I don't win,” Trump said. And he noted that if he loses reelection, “we go on, do other things.”

With four-and-a-half months to go until the election, a new poll indicates that a majority of voters support increased access to absentee ballots.

By a 59-38 percent margin, registered voters questioned in a Quinnipiac University national poll released on Thursday said that all voters in the U.S. should be allowed to cast ballots by mail in November due to coronavirus health concerns.

But the survey indicated a sharp partisan divide, with 90 percent of Democrats – and 57 percent of independents – supporting increased balloting by mail, and nearly three-quarters of Republicans opposed.