Lee County mail-in voting as of today. (Chart: Lee County Elections Office)
Aug. 4, 2020 by David Silverberg.
In a reversal of his previous vociferous opposition to mail-in voting, President Donald Trump now says that mail-in voting is “safe and secure, tried and true”—in Florida.
He announced the reversal in a 12:55 pm tweet today, August 4.
The full tweet stated (capitalization his): “Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!”
It is unclear to what “Democrats attempts” he was referring.
Trump’s previous attacks on mail-in voting were threatening Republican turnout in the key swing state. He has charged, without evidence or outside confirmation, that mail-in voting is “inaccurate and fraudulent” and rigging the election.
The Florida Republican Party attempted to hide Trump’s anti-mail Twitter rants by deceptively blurring out his criticisms in campaign flyers mailed to voters.
“He’s sowing the seeds of his own downfall with his rhetoric around vote by mail,” Katie Merrill, a Democratic strategist with the consulting firm, BaughmanMerrill, was quoted as saying in a Politico article, “Trump’s assault on mail voting threatens his reelection bid.”
According to the Politico article, BaughmanMerrill commissioned a poll that found that “Republicans have become overwhelmingly concerned about mail balloting, which Trump has claimed, without evidence, will lead to widespread voter fraud. A potentially decisive slice of Trump’s battleground-state base — 15 percent of Trump voters in Florida, 12 percent in Pennsylvania and 10 percent in Michigan — said that getting a ballot in the mail would make them less likely to vote in November.”
In Southwest Florida’s Lee and Collier counties, mail-in voting is well under way.
As of this writing, Lee County is reporting that 67,768 ballots have already been cast. That’s 14.48 percent of a total of 468,141 voters. Of these, 33,329 were Republican, 24,020 were Democratic, 10,006 had no party affiliation and 413 fell into the “other” category.
In Collier County 37,136 voters have mailed in their ballots, or 17.09 percent of the 217,312 voters eligible. Of those, 20,702 were Republican, 10,985 were Democratic, 5,246 had no party affiliation and 203 were “other.”
Mail-in voting to date in Collier County. (Chart: Collier County Elections Office)
Also threatening voting by mail are new measures that will serve to slow down and disrupt US Postal Service (USPS) operations. On July 10, Trump’s newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, a major campaign donor, sent out a memo to all USPS personnel, announcing elimination of late and extra mail delivery trips.
Despite the new measure, mail has not been delayed in Lee and Collier counties, David Walton, a USPS corporate communications specialist told The Paradise Progressive in response to a query.
Liberty lives in light
©2020 by David Silverberg