Trump Threatens to Withhold State Funding Over Mail-In Voting

His latest Twitter meltdown contained several new falsehoods. Surprise!

Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Trump threatened to halt funding in Michigan and Nevada on Wednesday over those states’ pushes to expand mail-in voting in response to the coronavirus—yet another signal that the president views efforts designed to make voting easier as a danger to his reelection bid.

In targeting the two states, Trump promoted several falsehoods: Michigan did not, as the president claimed, send voters absentee ballots; the state mailed out applications for absentee ballots. Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, noted this in her response to Trump’s attack. “We sent applications, not ballots,” Benson wrote on Twitter. “Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, and West Virginia.” 

While Nevada is sending voters absentee ballots, the move pertains only to the state’s primary. Still, Trump falsely characterized both vote-by-mail pushes as illegal, complaining that each would lead to rampant voter fraud. 

It wasn’t immediately clear to what funding Trump was referring, whether it be coronavirus relief, election assistance money, or federal distributions at large. Michigan is currently struggling with catastrophic flooding from a dam failure, which could prompt state officials to seek federal disaster relief funding.

Of course, Trump likely lacks the legal authority to carry out his threats, as such election protocols fall under state jurisdiction. But the tweets appeared to eerily echo Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, who warned during the president’s impeachment that if Trump were not removed from office, he wouldn’t hesitate to withhold federal funding from a state in exchange for political favors. 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate