Trump Threatens States Over 'Illegal' Mail-in Ballots

Michigan says it sent out applications, not ballots
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2020 1:52 PM CDT
Trump Threatens Michigan, Nevada Over Mail-in Ballots
In this Monday, May 18, 2020 photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a news conference in Lansing.   (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

President Trump threatened to withdraw federal funds Wedneday after apparently misinterpreting a move from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The president, who has repeatedly criticized Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, claimed the state had sent absentee ballots to 7.7 million voters. "This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State," he tweeted. "I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!" Benson, however, had sent applications for mail-in ballots, not the ballots themselves. "I also have a name, it’s Jocelyn Benson," she tweeted. "And we sent applications, not ballots. Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, and West Virginia."

In another tweet, Trump said the military had been sent to deal with flooding in Michigan, but Whitmer "must now 'set you free' to help." Trump is strongly opposed to expanding mail-in voting amid the pandemic, but it's not clear who he believes needed to authorize Michigan's decision; Republicans have long "resisted efforts to inject federal oversight" into state elections, Politico notes. In another tweet Wednesday, the president threatened to cut off funding to Nevada for sending out "illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario." Rep. Dina Titus slammed Trump for "threatening to harm Nevadans" and said that the decision to make June 9 congressional primaries all-mail was made by Nevada's Republican secretary of state, the Nevada Independent reports. (Read more Michigan stories.)

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