Joe Henderson: GOP conspiracy theory about mail-in ballots doesn’t add up

vote by mail
History shows mail-in ballots are safe and don't give either party the edge.

President Donald Trump‘s rant about online voting seems bizarre, even by his standard. But it’s really not. It’s just old-fashioned politics and planning ahead. He’s letting everyone know how he will protest the validity of the election if he loses in November.

He’s attacking states like California, Michigan, and Nevada for expanding vote by mail options.

What do those states have in common?

Democratic Governors.

In California, for instance, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that every registered voter in the state receive a mail ballot. Polling places will be limited but open.

Trump railed that Newsom gave ballots “to anybody.”

He said illegals got them. Or that “anybody who walks in California” got one.

“Millions and millions of ballots to anybody in California that’s walking or breathing,” he said.

It’s not true. Besides, Trump won’t win California anyway.

Florida has a well-oiled mail voting system, but the President hasn’t said a word about our state. Oh, that’s right. Gov. Ron DeSantis is a Republican and Trump favorite.

What’s bizarre about Trump’s strategy is that he benefited from mailed ballots in 2016, at least in our state.

In Florida, for instance, 1,080,808 Republicans voted by mail compared to 1,026,600 Democrats. Also, 101,529 more Democrats than Republicans failed to return their mail ballots.

Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes by only 112,911 votes. He probably can’t be re-elected in November without winning here.

The nonpartisan Stanford Institute For Economic Policy Research concluded that Republicans and Democrats benefit about equally from mail balloting.

In its report, the group said: “vote-by-mail does not appear to affect either party’s share of turnout. It doesn’t appear to increase either party’s vote share. And it only modestly increases overall average turnout rates.”

Yeah, but nothing grabs headlines like a boogeyman, and Trump seems to see them everywhere.

Well, everywhere when Democrats are in charge, that is.

Actually, though, there was a high-profile 2018 case of election fraud in North Carolina, but it involved a Republican.

GOP candidate Mark Harris appeared to win against his Democratic challenger by 905 votes, but the state elections board refused to certify the result. An operative for Harris faces three felony charges related to election cheating. The board ordered a new election, and Republicans held the seat anyway.

With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, more people would choose the safety of voting at home. That’s especially true in Florida with its large elderly population.

We don’t know what the infection rate will look like in November. Thanks to social distancing, polling centers could have a different look than we’re used to. Fewer people allowed inside could mean more people waiting outside.

But, Trump supporters have latched on to the talking point and won’t let go. We all love a good conspiracy theory, don’t we?

And there’s this: The Tampa Bay Times reported that Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany voted by mail in Florida elections 11 times in the last 10 years. She grew up in Tampa.

Trump also voted by mail in the Florida Primary in March.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • gary

    May 29, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Mail in is for bannana republics! Screw that!

  • Ron

    May 29, 2020 at 7:51 am

    Absentee ballots–for people who are “absent”–work. If the Democrats would leave them alone, mail ballots would be safe. But the Democrats won’t quit messing with them. It is called “Ballot Harvesting.” You undoubtedly know what it is, Joe. How about including a discussion of it in your blog?

  • StopBadReporting

    May 29, 2020 at 9:14 am

    The writer of this article is either not paying attention to what the complaints about so called “mail in ballots” is about.

    Even Jerry Nadler, in 2004, was candid when he said that mail in ballots could be easily manipulated..and said he should know about that.

    It is not the mail in ballots that people request because they have a legitimate reason for not being able to visit their polling place, it is the attempt by people like Gov. Newsom, to mail (without request from the voter), a ballot to all “registered” voters.

    The writer of this article, should do a bit more research on this type of process, before he writes an article that is false on its face, because it doesn’t address the issue the GOP is talking about.

    This article should have come with a “warning label” about fake news.

  • Dan

    May 29, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    FAKE News and twisted Socialist Reporting. Ballot Harvesting was considered illegal in NC, while in California it is standard practice. 7 California seats were turned over in 2018 after they were won decidedly on election night. It took the Socialist Machine a full week to print up enough ballots for illegal aliens, dead voters and repeat voters to gather enough fraud to turn over the elections. Recently we see where an individual reported and showed 82 ballots delivered to his one bedroom apartment, people who have not lived there for over 30 years.

    Now, there is legitimate requests for people to request absentee ballots, yet in Florida you have to show a photo I.D. to get registered and you may request an absentee ballot. If not used, the next 3 election you will be purged as inactive and won’t get one. However, due to lack of purging the dead, moved and incarcerated felons, Broward County had 125% of the population as registered voters in 2016. Normal counties are all under 40% and only 20% of registered voters actually vote.

    As Stalin said,” I don’t care who you vote for as long as I count the votes.” Media bias for the Socialist agenda is alive and well with Comrade Henderson.

  • John Kociuba

    May 29, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    Joe Henderson is a Communist! Ask him when you see him! Ask him enough questions, and the Devil will show his face!

    Get out of Florida, Joe! This State isn’t for you! Try New Jersey, New York, Maryland, California, Chicago, Minnesota, etc.

Comments are closed.


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