WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says that mail-in voting presents the greatest threat to his reelection hopes and he suggested that legal efforts in several states launched by his allies might decide November’s election.
Trump has asserted without evidence that expanded mail-in voting will lead to the “greatest rigged election in history.”
In an interview with Politico published Friday, the president underscored that ongoing battles in courts will be pivotal.
“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump told the publication. “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.”
His campaign and the Republican National Committee have already launched a legal battle in Nevada, where Democrats are pushing for the state to ease restrictions on mailing ballots. Republicans have also been active in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Last month, Trump attacked California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom over issuing an executive order expanding vote-by-mail in the state, an issue that has become of greater import as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump falsely claimed that Newsom’s order would lead to ballots being mailed to everyone in California, including nonresidents. In fact, the California order provides ballots only to people who are registered to vote.
Newsom on Thursday signed legislation to mail every voter a ballot for the November election, a bill that passed with support from several Republicans.
Some election studies have shown a slightly higher incidence of mail-in voting fraud compared with in-person voting, but the overall risk is extremely low. The Brennan Center for Justice said in 2017 the risk of voting fraud is 0.00004% to 0.0009%.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines issued during the pandemic “encourage mail-in methods of voting if allowed in the jurisdiction.”
Several national and battleground state polls show that Trump faces a difficult race against presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.