100,000 DEFECTIVE BALLOTS IN NEW YORK. THEY WANT TO REPLACE THEM, BUT WHERE, AND WHAT HAPPENS TO, THE BALLOTS THAT… https://t.co/nVWfklnB5F— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1601521142.0
President Trump tweeted Wednesday night about 100,000 defective ballots that were sent to voters in New York. Trump said the faulty ballots would be "used by somebody" and are part of a "scam."
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During the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, President Trump made multiple claims about fraudulent activity associated with the 2020 election. He claimed that there were "unsolicited ballots" being sent to voters. "You're soliciting, you're asking, they send it back, you send it back. I did that. They're sending millions of ballots all over the country. There's fraud," Trump said. In some states like Oregon and Colorado, if you're registered to vote, state election officials will automatically send your ballot through the mail to be returned via mail or in-person drop-off. In other states, voters have to request an absentee ballot be sent to them.
Trump claimed ballots were being discarded in rivers and creeks. "They found them in creeks. They found some with the name 'Trump,' just happened to have the name 'Trump,' just the other day, in a wastepaper basket," Trump said. There is no evidence of ballots being thrown into any body of water. Trump is referencing nine military ballots that were improperly thrown out in Pennsylvania by a temporary election worker who was later fired. Seven of the nine ballots were for Trump.
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Just after midnight on Sunday, President Trump retweeted a Brietbart story that included a video from Project Veritas, claiming it found Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is connected to illegal ballot harvesting in Minnesota. The video showed a man named Liban Mohamed talking about the hundreds of ballots he'd collected.
However, in Minnesota ballot harvesting is legal. In August, a district court blocked a Republican effort to end the practice, claiming that more voters having the opportunity to vote did not present a basis for harm.
The video also claims that there was a scheme to pay voters for their ballots. The video included an anonymous source claiming voters were paid during the August primary, however there was no further evidence to back that claim. And a spokesperson for Omar told Newsweek that Mohamed does not work for the campaign.
Project Veritas is known to put out content targeting liberal causes and candidates. In 2010, for example, founder James O'Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for unlawfully entering federal property during a "sting" against then-Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. The release came hours after The New York Times published its investigation into Trump's tax records, which showed he paid no income taxes in 10 of the 15 years before 2016.
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"And if foreign countries want to, this is an easy system to break into because they'll do counterfeit ballots. They'll do counterfeit ballots by the millions. So when you talk about China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, all the countries you talk about, that's peanuts — that's all peanuts compared to this. But this is their opening, because they can use nice, cheap ballots, and they can send them out, counterfeit them, and just send them in. This is a disaster, and they should stop it before it's too late." — President Trump speaking to a Sept. 23, 2020, press conference
On Wednesday, President Trump gave remarks to the press during a discussion with state attorneys general and said foreign countries could send counterfeit ballots to the United States. The president made similar claims in June when he tweeted, "RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!" U.S. Attorney General William Barr echoed Trump's claims about foreign interference earlier this month saying, "Foreign intelligence services are very able. They can counterfeit currency and they have a lot of capacity. And I don't think counterfeiting a state ballot is particularly challenging for them if they wanted to do it."
Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program for the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York School of Law, told USA Today, "forging mail ballots is not a serious threat." Norden explained that because local authorities collect returned ballots in secrecy envelopes, which in many states are bar-coded with unique identifiers to the voter, it would be impractical. Many states require voters to provide personal information like the last four digits of a voter's Social Security number or the voter's signature. A forged ballot would also require meeting the specifications to be read by the voting machines in that jurisdiction. "In other words, there are security measures in place that make the kind of scheme he's imagining impossible," Norden said. Also the ballots are printed on paper, making it easier to conduct a recount if necessary.
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