(TRUMP) "We are going to help Michigan.
Michigan is a great state." U.S. President Donald Trump changed his tune, Wednesday... walking back his threat to withhold funding from Michigan over its efforts to send mail-in voting applications to all voters.
(TRUMP) "I don't think it's going to be necessary." Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that Michigan would send "absentee ballots" to 7.7 million people, and, without citing any law, wrote that "this was done illegally and without authorization, by a rogue Secretary of State.” That Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, responded, writing: "We sent sent applications, not ballots.
Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia." Benson had said the move was to ensure residents could vote - AND stay healthy.
The question of how to conduct elections amid a coronavirus pandemic is playing out nationwide.
Last month's voting in Wisconsin was a test case, and media reports linked several new cases of the illness to in-person voting.
Even so - Trump on Wednesday repeated his opposition to voting by mail, leaning on baseless claims of fraud: (TRUMP) "And you do, you have cases of fraudulent ballots where they actually print them and give them to people to sign.
Maybe the same person signs them with different writing, different pens, I don't know.
(flash) A lot of people in certain districts don't ever get their ballot.
They keep calling 'where's my vote?
Where's my ballot?'
And election day passes and they forget about it.
And that can happen in the thousands - I'm not saying it does, but it can.
It probably has." Although the president himself voted by mail in March.
(TRUMP) "Now if you need a mail in ballot, if you need a specific like as an example I'm in the White House and I have to send a ballot to Florida - that makes sense.
So if you need it for some reason or if somebody's not well, that's one thing, but..." Republicans claimmail-in voting not only leads to fraud but favors Democrats, while Democrats say it allows a wider group of people to participate – safely - in elections.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made that point on Wednesday.
(PELOSI) “We do have a fight over funding for elections — vote by mail, which is a health issue." Trump narrowly won the state of Michigan in 2016, and it will be a battleground again in 2020.
His threat to withhold aid to the state comes a day after two dams failed, forcing residents around the city of Midland to flee.
Michigan has also been hard-hit by the pandemic.
Trump has previously threatened to withhold federal coronavirus relief aid from states, particularly Democratic ones, unless they cooperated with his administration’s immigration policies.
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