No, Americans Aren't Getting Multiple Ballots in the Mail to Commit Voter Fraud

President Donald Trump (left) and Charlie Kirk (right, probably) at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit in Washington, DC, on July 23, 2019.
President Donald Trump (left) and Charlie Kirk (right, probably) at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit in Washington, DC, on July 23, 2019.
Photo: Getty Images

Charlie Kirk, the leader of a right-wing advocacy organization called Turning Point USA and a frequent guest on Fox News, sent out a tweet yesterday with a shocking claim. Kirk posted a photo showing someone in New Mexico who had been sent “multiple ballots multiple times,” and suggested it was evidence of voter fraud. The only problem is that the photo didn’t show mail-in ballots, just applications for ballots. But that didn’t stop Kirk from tweeting a lot of things that aren’t true.

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“A friend just sent this to me,” Kirk tweeted on Wednesday. “This is the reality of mail-in voting. Why are houses with two people being sent multiple ballots multiple times?”

Kirk continued by insisting that this was all done”With ZERO voter ID requirements” and that “This must be stopped!” garnering thousands of retweets and likes.

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All you need to do is open up the image and take a closer look to see that the envelopes say “application for absentee ballot.” That doesn’t mean you get a ballot with each envelope. It simply allows you to apply for a mail-in ballot, which will arrive in the mail once your identity has been verified.

Illustration for article titled No, Americans Arent Getting Multiple Ballots in the Mail to Commit Voter Fraud
Image: Twitter

The same application for receiving an absentee ballot in New Mexico is also online. Any absentee ballot requires a voter to enter a state ID number, a social security number, and a date of birth—making Kirk’s claim of “ZERO voter ID requirements” patently false.

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Below you can see New Mexico’s online portal for applying to receive an absentee ballot, the same information that people need to fill out through the mail-in ballots that Kirk tweeted about.

Illustration for article titled No, Americans Arent Getting Multiple Ballots in the Mail to Commit Voter Fraud
Screenshot: New Mexico Secretary of State
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President Donald Trump, much like Kirk, has been tweeting incessantly about voter fraud, insisting that vote-by-mail is inherently unfair.

“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 on Wednesday morning. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

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As multiple fact checkers pointed out, Michigan is simply sending out applications for absentee mail-in voting, just as New Mexico and almost every other state is currently doing. Five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—already conduct their elections entirely by mail.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany explained Wednesday afternoon that the president’s tweet about Michigan was “meant to alert” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the voting methods in Michigan, and she couldn’t clarify what might be illegal about the state’s very normal voting practices. When McEnany was asked why the president is allowed to vote by mail for his “residence” in Florida and yet doesn’t want others to do so, she had a very authoritarian response.

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“The president is, after all, the president,” McEnany said ominously.

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, widespread voting by mail is a necessity for a free and fair election. At least 1.55 million Americans have been infected and 93,439 Americans have died and those numbers will only climb between now and November, especially since almost every state is starting to “reopen” their economies.

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The long and the short of it: Charlie Kirk and other Trump supporters are doing their best to sow confusion and mistrust in the U.S. voting system in preparation for contesting the result, should Trump lose. No one knows for certain who will win in November, but Trump is laying the groundwork to insist that voter fraud is rampant in the United States. And based on multiple studies, it’s simply not.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

Tebow Kneeled First

Matt, we really need to say the quiet part here and call this what it is: “voter suppression”.

Republicans know they only way they can win is to keep people from voting and they will jump at every chance to keep numbers low. That’s what this is, plain and simple.