Trump said vote-by-mail was 'corrupt,' but the RNC is sending Pa. voters mail-in ballot applications | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Trump said vote-by-mail was 'corrupt,' but the RNC is sending Pa. voters mail-in ballot applications

Yesterday, President Donald Trump dismissed the idea of mail-in voting serving as a useful tool during the coronavirus pandemic. Congressional Democrats have floated the idea of expanding mail-in voting as part of another coronavirus stimulus package.

Trump tweeted that mail-in voting is “‘RIPE for FRAUD,’ and shouldn’t be allowed!” Trump also called mail-in ballots “corrupt” and said the process was a “horrible thing."

But in terms of Pennsylvania voters, the Republican National Committee is sending the opposite message.


According to photos obtained by City Paper from a registered Republican voter in Allegheny County who asked to remain anonymous, the RNC is currently mailing some voters mail-in ballot applications and encouraging them to fill them out and return to their county elections office.
click to enlarge RNC mail-in ballot application - PHOTO: OBTAINED BY CITY PAPER
Photo: Obtained by City Paper
RNC mail-in ballot application
In big bold letters, the mailer reads: “Complete the attached mail-in ballot application” and comes with two Pennsylvania official no-excuse mail-in applications and some truncated instructions. The RNC letters are also pre-addressed to county election offices. The photos obtained by CP show the address for the Allegheny County election offices in Downtown Pittsburgh.

And it’s not just Allegheny County; a Twitter user from Mountoursville in Lycoming County also tweeted yesterday a photo of her mother’s mail-in ballot application letter from the RNC.
These efforts by the RNC to encourage voting by mail fly in the face of recent comments made by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. In an April 8 press release, McDaniel criticized the efforts by Congressional Democrats to expand vote-by-mail for the upcoming elections.

“The overhaul would vastly expand opportunities for fraud and weaken confidence in our elections, but all Washington Democrats see is a potential benefit for their party,” wrote McDaniel.

The RNC did not return a request for comment for this article.
click to enlarge RNC mail-in ballot application - PHOTO: OBTAINED BY CITY PAPER
Photo: Obtained by City Paper
RNC mail-in ballot application
Last year, the Pennsylvania Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf agreed to an election reform bill that created Pennsylvania’s new no-excuse mail-in voting law. Now, all Pennsylvania voters can vote by mail if they are registered to vote and request a mail-in ballot at least a week before the election.


There is some evidence of voter fraud linked to mail-in ballots, as when a Republican congressional campaign in North Carolina did it in 2018, but McDaniel’s claim that vote-by-mail increased voter fraud isn’t supported by widespread evidence. Five states already conduct all of their elections by mail (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) without widespread reports of fraud.

And for a political party that says it’s worried about potential voter fraud of mail-in ballots, the RNC’s letters to Pennsylvania voters actually contain omissions that potentially make it harder for voters to fill out the applications properly.

The RNC’s letters don’t include the second page of instructions that usually comes with Pennsylvania’s printout of the mail-in ballots. Without that second page, there are no instructions for voters who fill out the application and don’t have a PennDOT driver’s license or can’t provide the last four digits of their social security numbers.

Those voters can check a box saying they don’t have that information, but they then must provide a copy of another form of current identification that shows a name, a photo, and an expiration date, like a U.S. Passport, military ID, or student ID.

The RNC letter only provides a list of instructions that is three steps. Further adding to the irony, is that Pennsylvania Republicans passed a Voter ID law in 2012 which was eventually struck down by Pennsylvania courts in 2014.


Of course, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Marshall) let slip the GOP’s true intention of that flawed Voter ID law when he was caught on video saying that it was intended to help Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney win Pennsylvania in 2012. Romney lost that year.

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