WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had “total confidence” in Florida’s ability to administer a vote-by-mail system this November, but cast doubt on other states ability to deliver reliable results.
“Florida has got a great Republican governor, and it had a great Republican governor,” Trump said when asked by a reporter to explain why his comfort with mail-in voting did not appear to extend to states beyond Florida.
Trump is registered to vote in Palm Beach County and voted absentee in Florida’s March presidential primary. The president has said he plans to vote absentee again in the general election.
“Over a long period of time they’ve been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from other states,” Trump said Tuesday.
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Trump focused on Nevada and New York — states with Democratic governors whose voters went for Hillary Clinton on 2016 — as examples of other states being unable to successfully carry out vote-by-mail.
“I think they have to do the election in New York over,” Trump said of a closely watched Democratic congressional primary that remains undecided six weeks after the election due to disputes over some absentee ballots.
“Nobody can know what the election result is,” Trump claimed.
Trump also criticized Nevada for its plan to automatically send mail ballots to voters.
“In the case of Nevada, they’re going to be voting in a matter of weeks. You can’t do that. I can’t imagine the Post Office could do it. All of a sudden they’re supposed to be dealing in millions of ballots.”
The Trump administration has been criticized for implementing cost cuts to the U.S. Postal Service that have led to a backlog of mail. Republicans have also been resistant to Democrats’ calls to include more funding for the Postal Service in coronavirus legislation in an effort to better prepare for the November elections and what is expected to be a record share of mail-in ballots.
Trump has vowed to sue Nevada to stop the state from issuing mailed ballots to all active voters, although he has no legal authority to do so. Elections are administered by the states with oversight from Congress.
Although more voters are expected to cast a ballot by mail this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, states have been using absentee systems for years and millions of voters cast ballots in some way other than an in-person polling place every presidential election cycle.
As Trump continues to trail behind Joe Biden in polls, he has made baseless claims about the security and legitimacy of vote-by-mail and stoked fear over whether Americans can be confident in the November election results.
Florida, one of the most delegate-rich battleground states that could decide the presidential race, is the exception.
“Florida has done a great job and we have total confidence that if you mail in your ballot in Florida, it’s going to matter,” Trump said.
Lauren Egan is a reporter for NBC News based in Washington.
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