Sen. Kamala Harris scolded President Donald Trump for threatening to withhold federal funds from states over absentee ballots, warning such an act would be illegal.
“Mr. President, it is a federal crime to withhold money from states with the purpose of interfering with people’s right to vote,” Harris told MSNBC host Joy Reid. “So, you may want to talk to your lawyer, Bill Barr, about that.”
President Trump has been fighting every attempt for mail-in voting, saying the idea is ripe for fraud and it will ruin his chances at reelection. However, support for mail-in voting has been growing. A poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, shows Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support their state conducting elections exclusively by mail, 47% to 29%.
On Tuesday night, Trump again tweeted about his displeasure in mail-in voting saying “there is NO WAY (ZERO!) mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.”
However, Twitter highlighted two of Trump’s tweets falsely claiming mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud, adding a link providing facts about mail-in voting.
Last week, Trump tweeted Michigan sent its residents absentee ballots “illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State.”
“I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” wrote the president, who has railed against efforts to expand mail-in-voting in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hours later, Trump deleted the tweet after multiple media outlets reported that the state sent absentee ballot applications to all residents, giving them the option to receive a ballot in the mail to vote in the Aug. 4 primary and Nov. 3 general election, instead of going to a polling place.
Michigan governor Gretchen Witmer, who has also been fighting Trump as he pushes for states to reopen, criticized the president’s actions.
“To have this kind of distraction is just ridiculous, to be honest,” Whitmer told CBS This Morning last week. “Threatening to take money away from a state that his hurting as bad as we are right now is just scary. And I think something that is unacceptable.”
Democratic nominee Joe Biden said in April that he believes President Trump will try to delay the presidential election. Mail-in voting will also help African Americans as voter suppression tactics in the South are widespread.