DETROIT – In a tweet Wednesday, President Trump threatened to “hold up funding” to Michigan, claiming the Secretary of State was “illegally” sending absentee ballots to all voters.
Michigan is not doing this
The information stated in the President’s tweet is not true. Michigan is not sending absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of elections this year.
On Tuesday, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the state would send applications to vote by mail to every registered voter, not a ballot.
Benson responded to Trump’s tweet, saying: “Hi! I also have a name, it’s Jocelyn Benson. And we sent applications, not ballots. Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia.”
The application mailing from the Bureau of Elections includes a cover letter with instructions from Secretary Benson. Once a voter signs their application, they can mail it or email a photo of it to their local clerk, whose contact information is included on the application. The application is also available for download at Michigan.gov/Vote. At the same website, voters can also register and join the permanent absent voter list so they always have the option to vote by mail.
“The vast majority of voters across the political spectrum want the option to vote by mail,” said Benson. “Mailing applications to all registered voters is one of the ways that we are ensuring Michigan’s elections will continue to be safe, accurate and secure.”
President Trump has been a vocal opponent of vote-by-mail legislation. Republicans, including Trump, have also claimed that Democrats would see a political advantage from the vote-by-mail expansion.
Congress included $400 million in election funding in a previous coronavirus relief bill, but estimates of the total cost to expand mail voting and make in-person voting safer have run as high as $4 billion. The previous failed bill also required that states receiving some of the new funding match it with 20% of their own election dollars — a tough requirement with state budgets cratering amid the pandemic.
Republican secretaries of state have pleaded for more money from Congress even as they’ve bristled against any mandates, saying they know best how to run their own elections. Democrats and voting rights groups hope to be able to get as much funds from the Senate as possible and expect to lose on the mandates.
After review, we've found this claim is Not True.
UPDATE: President Trump, after several hours, deleted the tweet and corrected ballot to applications.
Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020