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President Trump is threatening to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada over their decisions to enact widespread mail-in voting in the upcoming election, claiming the moves were “done illegally” and will lead to voter fraud.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Tuesday that all registered voters in the crucial general election battleground state will be mailed an application to vote by mail in November so they do not have to risk exposure to the coronavirus by going out to the polls.
Trump was not a fan of the decision.
“Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots 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,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”
Trump later addressed Nevada’s decision to have mail-in votes for their June primary election and threatened to withhold funding from them as well. In that state, voters will not even have to request ballots through application forms; instead, voters will receive ballots in the mail.
“State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S.,” Trump tweeted. “They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”
The legality of sending the ballot applications is already the basis of a lawsuit in Texas, in which a federal judge sided with Democrats in allowing the forms to be sent out to voters. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately announced his office is appealing the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The president and other GOP leaders have repeatedly railed against expanded balloting by mail, saying that it leads to voter fraud. Democrats – pushing back on such arguments – say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel noted Monday that while she remains opposed to states sending ballots out to all voters, sending applications for absentee ballots “is one mechanism of ensuring that that voter is who they are.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.